This is my favorite time of the year, at least when it pertains to getting the kids outside easily. I am sure as soon as I hit publish the weather will change and I’ll be eating my words, but for a while we are living in this glorious sweet spot of get-outside-weather.
It’s not too hot, not too cold and the skies are clear and the air crisp. I’m enamored by the robust colors and an invitation to slow down and enjoy it. And we all appreciate a season of being able to fudge sun hats, sun screen and winter snow suits.
It’s also a perfect time to combine relaxation and outdoor activity. We pack up a pile of outdoor/fall books and a hammock and hike to a place where we can at least imagine we are on our own.
Sometimes the actual hike is a couple miles, and sometimes it is literally only a few hundred yards. But, it allows the wiggles to move themselves out of our bodies, and gives us a chance to find clarity of mind in the fresh air.
And then we pile in the hammock and read.
Ideally they snuggle around me and listen intently as dive into stories.
In reality, someone is still wiggling, someone is fussing and after a few minutes they’re done and ready to go play.
And that’s ok.
We go back and forth between resting and page-turning and exploring and dreaming. Because stories breathe creativity into play too.
When we’re reading about a windy day, it’s so much more real as we sway in real wind through the trees.
We can imagine growing up in a little house in the woods or pressing apples for cider.
Because outdoor adventures aren’t limited to hikes and skis and camping. It’s finding ways to bring the inside, OUT, and the outside in. And books are my favorite way to do both!
***Pssttttt – that’s a Grand Trunk Hammock we’re reading in…and it is AWESOME. Great straps for the trees, super light and comfortable. Two thumbs up from us!**
Our Current Favorite Outdoor Books
The following is a list of books we love for encouraging an outdoor life, especially in the fall season. Picture books are for all ages, but this has a specific focus on kids aged 5-8. While we are always proponents of using your local library, if you do decide to purchase, some of the following are affiliate links. Thanks so much for clicking through them – it doesn’t cost you a dime and helps us out just a tiny bit!
Outdoor Books from Barefoot Books
I have to admit I have a great fondness for books from Barefoot books. They are always beyond gorgeous and keep my kids (and, let’s be honest, me) coming back again and again. Something about the colors in these make reading them outside all the more fantastic. You can purchase all of the Barefoot Books here on their site.
This one isn’t necessarily an outdoor book, but it is so so SOOO good. It’s perfect for help kids celebrate children from all over the world. And it sparks tons of conversations.
I have read this one 200 times in the past 2 weeks….or close to it. It’s educational AND entertaining…and I learned something too. Another great school book.
My kids love the Barefoot books that have songs included the best. This one comes with a CD to sing along with and you can find videos online that are great for singing along with also. It’s also a fun one to sing AS you hike…. I particularly appreciate the fact that they are learning opposites OUTSIDE!
Again, super educational as they learn about chickens throughout the story with enrichment at the end.
This book is brand new this fall and absolutely fabulous as we study trees for homeschool. Great photos, easy to understand language and relatable material for ALL kids! My second grader is using it as his text book, but we all join in the fun. And now when we hike, we talk a lot about tree specifics (types of leaf, bark and those tree nuts….). Since not all of the trees obviously grow locally, we sure do appreciate the great photos too!
We have been fans of the “Who Pooped in the Park” series for years now. It’s a great way to teach kids about tracks and scat! Gary Robson’s newest book, Who Pooped in Central Park, helps connect kids to a more urban environment. The book features the long list of animals: muskrat, Norway rat, eastern gray squirrel, coyote, domestic dog, red-tailed hawk, horse, Canada goose, raccoon, laughing gull, groundhog, red-bellied woodpecker, eastern screech owl, tai-colored bat, pigeon and diamondback terrapin. As silly as it may sound, I love that the book shows kids how much wildlife there are in urban areas too! Be sure to check out Who Pooped in Yellowstone National Park (and the entire series) too!)
And others we love…..
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