Cool for Kids

Encouraging children to discover nature

Wondering how to inspire a child to get out and discover nature? That’s the goal of the “Encourage A Child” books

Regular readers of Discovering Belgium may have noticed I’ve been a bit quiet in recent months. This is because I’ve been busy working on a new writing project.

It’s a series of short books under the theme “Encourage A Child“. The first one, “Encourage A Child To Watch Birds”, is available for pre-order, and will be released on 10 December.

Encourage A Child books

I thought I’d interview myself about the books. That way I won’t be asked any tricky questions!

“What is the objective of the Encourage A Child series of books?”

My goal in writing the Encourage A Child series of books is to provide ideas and practical tips to motivate a child’s interest in nature. Titles include encouraging a child to watch birds, study small mammals, enjoy creepy-crawlies, learn about trees, and care for the planet. My hope is to see these books enriching young lives in some way, small or large.Encourage A Child books

“Who are these books aimed at?”

The books are intended to be read by any adult who is playing a significant role in a child’s life. Parents obviously spring to mind, but the books would be equally valuable for grandparents; foster parents and step-parents; uncles, aunts and other relatives; friends and neighbours; babysitters and childminders; school teachers; church and youth club leaders; cub, scout and guide leaders, etc.

“How old are the children you are hoping to encourage?”

Most of the ideas presented in these books can be applied to children aged between approximately 7 and 12 years old. However, some of the ideas can be applied to younger or older children. This is because the intention is to provide readers with basic ideas that they can adapt and apply to a particular child or group of children. In other words, HOW the ideas are put into practice will differ according to the age of the child being encouraged. For example, one idea taken at its most simplest form could apply to a 3-year-old exploring a garden with a parent, while the same idea when further developed might be relevant for a 16-year-old discussing a nature project with their school biology teacher.

“Are the ideas specific to a particular part of the world?”

No. The ideas presented can be applied anywhere in the world. However, at times I give actual examples of birds, animals, insects, trees etc., that relate to my experiences of living in the UK, the Netherlands and Belgium.

“How does the reader use the Encourage A Child books?”

Every book starts with an introduction as to how a particular hobby could enrich a child’s life. Each book then has 10 Non-Screen Ideas. These can be read and implemented from No. 1 to No. 10. However, it is not necessary to follow them in numerical order. It’s possible to select one idea that seems the most appropriate and relevant to a specific child at that stage of his or her life. It is also feasible to follow a number of ideas in parallel, as they complement each other.

“Why are the ideas Non-Screen?”

Children are active on screens for an increasingly large proportion of their lives. These books aim to activate children, sharpen their senses and show them the fun to be had away from the screen. (Yes, I know it’s ironic that non-screen ideas are given in an eBook!).

Consequently, none of the ideas in the books involve screen-based activities such as creating a blog, posting on Facebook, taking photos for Instagram, Tweeting their thoughts, making a Pinterest pin or posting to any other social media account. There are no ideas that involve children watching the TV, YouTube or a DVD. Children will not be encouraged to search the Internet.Encourage A Child books

“What’s your background to write these books?”

As a young boy I had a lot of hobbies centred around nature study. These included birdwatching, breeding butterflies, tracking mammals, building a garden pond, rearing frogs, wildflower photography, studying owls, working as a volunteer nature conservation warden and others. Many of these hobbies I have carried on into my adult life, and put into practice with my own children. As a professional freelance writer for over 30 years, I have written for various newspapers and magazines on a variety of topics, and published four books on local nature walks.

If you would like to know more about these books, you can head over to the Encourage A Child website. And of course I would greatly appreciate any kind of sharing, promotion and publicity that you can do, either through social media or directly to people who you think might be interested in these books. Thanks a lot!

Categories: Cool for Kids, Miscellenea

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15 replies »

  1. Congrats on your upcoming release, Denzil. I’ve added your series to my “Books to Buy List.”

    “For example, one idea taken at its most simplest form could apply to a 3-year-old exploring a garden with a parent…”

    Saturday is my favorite day of the week for spending time, sometimes up to four hours, in my garden and other plots I’ve adopted. I live in an apartment complex of 30 apartments in an urban area, where I encourage my neighbors’ two kids, now 4 and 6 years old, to join me while I work. Last Saturday, their delight on seeing a grasshopper, camouflaged on the leaf of a rose plant, was a joy I hope will remain with them. They immediately called their parents to come and see the grasshopper.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s great news Rosaliene, thank you. And what a lovely and rewarding experience for you (and your two neighbor kids) to invite them to spend time in nature with you. Young children have such delight in small things in nature that we adults often take for granted and don’t give a second glance.


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