I can’t get enough of children’s books that promote outdoor play. That combination – reading books & a love of nature – warms my heart. Bringing the Outside In by Mary McKenna Siddals is a book that hits all the right marks: fun lyrical text for kids and parents alike, beautiful illustrations, and a strong message of the importance of spending time playing in nature, no matter how dirty you get. Geared toward ages 3 to 7, the story follows a group of four friends as they play outside in each of the four seasons, then return to one of the girls’ homes to get all cleaned up.
Spring brings “Boots full of puddle, Mud everywhere!” while Summer at the beach brings “Sun on our shoulders, Sand in our tails!” Leaves in Autumn and snow in winter make up what else needs to get cleaned up the rest of the year. Barton’s illustrations show these four kids happily playing followed by them happily taking care of their clothes and keeping their friend’s home clean. After four seasons of “Bringing the outside in…” they find themselves looking over photos of all their outdoor adventures, like the four images below that look like excellent Instagram posts (we’re on Instagram!).
Bringing the Outside In says a lot about getting kids outside to play. One, kids should be allowed to play outside in every season. Two, kids should be allowed to get dirty, because clothes can be washed and kids can be bathed. And three, time spent outside, playing with friends, will be something kids will always remember, photos or no photos. So what are you waiting for, parents and teachers? Check out Bringing the Outside In and get your kids outside!