Monday, 8 July 2013


The essential guide to outdoors fun for the whole family 
by Charlie and Caroline Gladstone with Kate Burt
available for £12.99 from Pedlars

If you are tired of having entertainment laid on for you at the flick of a button and fancy some real outdoor fun with your children this summer, then you will love this book and you will give your family a summer they will never forget.

This is the perfect time of year for this type of book because as the Summer holidays approach many parents are on the lookout for great things to do with their children. If you are on this Creatively Recycling blog, then chances are you will be on here as you are looking for something a little different. This book by Charlie and Caroline Gladstone is, what I would call a REAL activities book. What is lovely about this book is that it is all about activities you can do with children outdoors. As far as I am concerned, anything that takes children outside of their four classroom walls, or away from television and computers really has to be a great thing. 

I think the real reason this book stands out from other holiday activity books is because it has been written by a couple who have six children and who quite clearly love spending time outdoors. Therefore, rather than someone being commissioned to write about a certain subject matter, this couple are simply sharing what they have learnt over twenty years of living the outdoor life with six children in the wilds of Scotland. It is a guide book, with tips, how to's and lists, but it also has pages in each chapter for you to write your own notes in.

I found the section on keeping hens very interesting and was surprised to also read that, as well as having six children, the couple also have six dogs, horses and a flock of ancient chickens. Their Best kit for the great outdoors I also found very useful as they explained their tried and tested tools and tell you where to get them from.

The instructions for things to build is beautifully clear. I would imagine many of these could be carried out by children and adults. To mention but a few: How to build a raftHow to build a dam and How to build a den - are all explained with illustrations to guide you through each step. 

There is a Gladstone's guide to their Top five tents (the pros and cons for each design) and even a  Campsite etiquette! The lay out of the book makes it easy to dip in and out of, so perfect for taking away with you. I found it a thoroughly enjoyable read and found my 13 year old dipping into it also. 

There is a great cooking section that not only includes some inventive recipes, such as One pot dishes and Whole fish baked in newspaper, but also useful tips like, How to build a fire, Cooking equipment needed, and How to skin a rabbit.

As you will see from my bookmarks to date I have managed to find many things that attracted my attention in this book. Items I have marked as interest so far are Predicting the weather, Where to go cyclingHow to tie different knots, Food Foraging, The best kit for outdoors and The best music for outdoors, then for those looking for a book to read, Ten must-reads about the great outdoors.

I really did enjoy this book. In many ways it took me back to my childhood Summers when myself and my four siblings spent the entire day outdoors playing, inventing, building and eating outside until it was pitch black and we could see no more. This book by Charlie and Caroline Gladstone encourages children (and their parents) to think logically, to create, to build, to survive, but above all, to have fun. 

The Family Guild to the Great Outdoors
RRP £12.99
Published: May 2013 by Random House


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