Book Review: 101 Things

101 Things for Kids to Do Outside, Dawn Isaac, published by Kyle Books, 2014.

This weekend we got out to Boscawen Park, Truro and the back garden, lopping trees. I was in my element; short back and sides. We also spent a lot of time in front of the fire. Youngest is still under the weather and we were happy to hunker down for a little longer. It gave me chance to flick through a book or two.

We received a copy of 101 Things from a wonderful friend who knows us well.  Despite appearances on this blog; my kids are not waiting at the door to get outside every day. In fact they love being at home, playing, watching TV and all manner of non ourdoorsy activities. Getting them out is sometimes a real challenge, and that’s one of the reasons this book appeals to me; it’s written by a Mum of 3 who sometimes has to persuade her children to get out into the great outdoors.

101 Things for Kids to do Outdoors front cover

Dawn Issac, award winning garden designer and horticultural advisor to C Beebies’ Mr Bloom shares her stories of outdoor family life at She has an honest, easy to read writing style addressed to the younger reader rather than the parent. For kids who can pick this up and read it themselves, it offers the chance to be a bit more independent and self directed. There are loads of lovely illustrative photographs on every page and easy to understand explanations (bar a few more complicated games which I’ve not quite grasped myself yet – perhaps I need to put them into action).

Little equipment is needed and most of the 101 Things can be done in a small outdoor space or perhaps a park for racing around games. Maybe don’t try the ‘Make your own rockery’ at the local park though.

My favourites include:

25850294791_222e0b66d0_oGo on a bear hunt – hiding teddies in the garden in a one sided game of hide and seek. I
think we would have to extend this idea to include searching in the style of the much loved book of the same name…swishy, swashy, swishy, swashy. I think youngest would love running inside from the bear to hide under the covers .

Cook with the sun – the idea is to make your own solar oven Blue Peter style with a cardboard box, black paper and cellophane. If I’m honest I have doubts about my abilities here, and whether the sun will EVER be strong enough, but the picture of the chocolate chip cookies looks so very tempting. If all else fails we could fry them with the magnifying glass! Like we did with the crayons last year. (Another story).


Do the laundry
– I had to include this one. This is something I remember doing as a child, washing dolls clothes and hanging them out to dry. I can see the kids getting into this. Or is that just my nostalgia?  We will give it a go.

Explore with an underwater viewer – use an empty plastic bottle to make an underwater viewer. Press it into the surface of a pond to see what’s beneath.

Create your own nature exhibit – with photo instructions to make your own specimen box. I get drawn in by the lovely photos. I’m not sure our display box would turn out this well, but I’m inspired to have a go. I think I’ll send the kids out collecting nature treasures whilst I make the box. For my own sanity.


These are the first of the 101 Things we will try. There are lots of other ideas too; some that might not be new to you (like chalk drawing), some that just provide a reminder of games forgotten, and others to extend your repertoire.

If you want to know it it’s for you, you can see a few pages and a list of contents via amazon’s ‘Look Inside’ feature: 101 Things for Kids to do Outdoors.

Do you have any favourite outdoor activities from your childhood?

All photographs in this post are taken from the book, (credit to Will Heap).


A Cornish Mum


  1. Ohh I love these ideas, not sure we would be able to cook much with the pathetic excuse for a sun we have here though! I love the bear hunt idea and washing toys clothes. This book sounds great.xx #picknmix

    Liked by 1 person

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