For me, it is of utmost importance that my kids feel a connection to the Earth; I believe it is one of the most important life lessons that I can help them to learn. I do not believe that we can expect people to truly care for our earth if they have no personal relationship with nature. I feel quite certain that time spent outdoors is vital to good health. I also believe that there is no easier way to instill a sense of wonder and feelings of peace and joy in our children than to get outdoors. We are coming into the time of year when we come inside to get food and to sleep...that is about it. Most of the rest of the time we will be outdoors; that is the way I spent my childhood and it is one of my wishes for my own children. Most of our time outdoors is spent just playin'. The boys will often help me in the garden or we will get to work on some project. The other day we got our nature notebooks out again. We were inspired to do so when reading this book. Both boys got in on the action and quickly marked off their squares in my flower gardens (Hey, watch my tulips!!! The whole huge yard and you guys have to choose to put your squares in my flower beds?) The idea is that you mark off a square and then observe all the action going on throughout the year. They can record anything of interest in their notebooks. E quickly found some critters in his square and made a list in his book. See his baby millipede there.W decided that he would gather all our identification guides so that we could put them all in a basket with our notebooks, binoculars, magnifying glass and pencils. While we were out there reading some other interesting nature books he noticed a bird in our hazelnut tree. We had noticed the same kind in our garden a few times last year but hadn't identified it. The bird book was right there in the basket and so we took it out and realized that it was a yellow-rumped warbler. We spent some time sketching and then got back to some more reading.