Heart shaped cloud

I loved my childhood. I grew up with seven brothers and sisters, one dog, one full-time parent, and no money. We relied on one another for entertainment.

Every day after school we’d run home to change clothes and head outdoors. On weekends we played outside all day long, exploring the neighborhood on our own with no adult supervision. But it was a different world then–we knew everyone in our neighborhood and they knew us. We had boundaries and kept within them. If we needed an adult, there was always one within shouting distance. We were home in time for dinner, after which we did our homework.

We learned a lot about life through unstructured play in the outdoors. We learned to be resourceful and come up with games to entertain and challenge ourselves. We learned to negotiate by picking teams for various games. We investigated, explored, smelled and touched things in nature–blew on dandelions, played the buttercup game, and captured and released fireflies, grasshoppers, and turtles. We kicked up leaves, made snow angels, and played the “”cloud game.””

The cloud game was one of the first games we taught the younger kids because no skill was involved. Clouds moved and changed and could keep the kids interested for a surprisingly long time. To play, you simply watch clouds go by and look for shapes among them. You’ve done this, haven’t you? Hasn’t everyone? Have you played the game with your children?

I have a new book about clouds and I’m giving it away. Really. No kidding. You can download the PDF file and print a copy of the 30-page book for yourself. You don’t have to pay, sign in to our website, register, or subscribe. The book is part of my award-winning series and it’s filled with photos of clouds. Some look like hearts, some like dogs, and others like people. There’s even a photo of a cloud that looks like a hummingbird that was sent to me by a woman in Texas. It’s amazing!

Please feel free to download Take a Cloud Walk and use it to teach (or learn with) your kids a little about clouds and weather. Find the book at either of our websites: www.TakeAWalk.com, or our website for teachers, www.NoStudentLeftIndoors.com. Take the book with you and head outside for your Green Hour today.

I’d love to hear your cloud stories–please share them here. Enjoy!

See you in the outdoors!

Jane Kirkland is the award-winning author of the “”Take A Walk®”” series of nature discovery books as well as “”No Student Left Indoors: Creating a Field Guide to Your Schoolyard””, the acclaimed educator’s guide to helping students discover nature in their schoolyard. To learn more about Jane and her books visit: www.takeawalk.com.

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Published: May 28, 2008