December 18, 2005

Field Guides as Children's Gifts

This may seem surprising too you but my 2 year old's favorite book is the Birds of Minnesota Field Guide.

While on first blush this seems odd - truly it isn't. Filled with beautiful big pictures of colorful birds and at your hand information on each bird it is perfect for a young child who loves to look at colorful pictures and have immediate information about what they are looking at.

Field guides make great gifts. Especially when they are specific to the area you live in. We have MN field guides for birds, reptiles and amphibians, wildflowers and trees. These are some of my kids favorite books and we look at them often. They provide excellent information, pretty pictures and science curriculum.

Sirah's favorite birds are the woodpecker and barn owl. She can name several birds just because we look at the pictures she points and I say the name. Ciaran knows all the species of frogs and toads and many by their calls. Rhiannon took pictures and matched them to wildflowers this summer.

Field guides are relatively inexpensive and a gift that keeps giving for a long time. A not commonly thought of gift for a child but one they can come back to time and time again. I especially recommend them for the 2-7 year old age group before they develop preconceived notions of what is and is not a good book. That is the same reason I read lots of non-fiction books to our kids and take them to the arboretum often.

Kids have a deep quest for information about their world and a short patience level for waiting for the answers. Books and places that provide immediate information are great for young children. If you make it fun when they are young they will love it for life. Beat the preconceptions and create your own.

This year instead of a plastic or talking toy why not try a field guide or membership to a local museum or arboretum for the families you love.


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