Back to School Outdoor Books

Outdoor Books

These are books we recommend for our Back to School MicroAdventure Challenge!

Outdoor Eats

Make More S’mores By: Cathy Ballou Mealey

This silly rhyming book follows Roscoe the raccoon as he makes s’more after s’more for the hungry bears nearby. Little ones will love the fun illustrations and silly storyline as they wonder how many more s’mores Roscoe will have to make.

We’re Going on a Picnic By: Pat Hutchins

Who doesn’t love a picnic? As Hen, Goose, and Duck discover, they aren’t the only ones looking to enjoy a perfect picnic day. Laughing along with the silly antics of the wildlife may just make you want to pack a picnic basket of your own!

For Bigger Kids – Camping with Kids Cookbook By: Amelia Mayer

Written by our very own Amelia Mayer, this book gives tons of ideas and recipes for kid-friendly camping fare along with tips for the trip and outdoor activities to enjoy along the way. Your bigger kids will love being able to help out and follow the recipes right along with you!

For Mom – Big Boards for Families By: Sandy Coughlin

There’s something special about throwing together easy eats onto a family-sized platter to share. This book gives tons of ideas for charcuterie boards your family is sure to love for any meal of the day (and dessert too!).

Natural Art

Anywhere Artist By: Nikki Slade Robinson

Celebrate creativity and inspire your little ones to find the natural art all around them in this adorable, lighthearted book. They’ll want to create their own masterpieces from found objects and materials they find in nature, unleashing their ideas and imagination.

Outside Art By: Madeline Kloepper

What is art? The wild animals near an artist’s cabin want to know what it all means as they watch a human putting colors on a board with a “furry stick”. Your kiddos will smile and hopefully get inspired to make their own art after reading this lighthearted story.

For Bigger Kids – The Unplugged Family Activity Book By: Rachel Jepson Wolf

What adventures and discoveries await when we pause technology and connect with nature and each other outdoors? This book can help you find out! It’s packed with more than 50 crafts, recipes, and projects to get your kids out the door for year-round fun.

For Mom – Braiding Sweetgrass By: Robin Wall Kimmerer

Discover how other living beings (plants, animals, etc.) offer us gifts and lessons in this excellent, eye-opening book by the indigenous scientist, Robin Wall Kimmerer. She asks us to acknowledge and celebrate our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world using both scientific and cultural evidence.

Outdoor Learning

Flip, Float, Fly By: JoAnn Early Macken

Introduce your little ones to plant life cycles and seed dispersal in this beautiful and informative book. The simple flowing text pairs well with the detailed illustrations of plant parts, pods, and seeds. It even includes a glossary so young learners can discover new terms and information.

The Book of Brilliant Bugs By: Jen Green

Little ones will delight in the gorgeous images of bugs in every shape, size, and color they can imagine. It’s jam-packed with fun facts and scientific information that your budding entomologist will refer back to for years to come.

For Bigger Kids – Adventure is Now By: Jess Redman

Embark on a wild and wondrous adventure full of cryptic clues and spectacular nature in this fun middle-grade novel. You’ll follow Milton P. Greene as he learns about protecting the environment and discovering real friends while spending a summer on a remote island.

For Mom – Wild Learning: Practical Ideas to Bring Teaching Outdoors By: Rachel Tidd

Bring your core curriculum out of the classroom and into nature. From the author and creator of the Wild Math and Wild Reading curriculums, this book gives parents and educators of all types practical activities they can implement immediately.  The ideas in this book are adaptable to current curriculums, so you won’t feel the pressure of adding yet another thing to your busy day.

The Changing Seasons

Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn By: Kenard Pak

Point out the signs of autumn as a young girl says goodbye to summer and welcomes the coming of fall. Told in a series of short conversations with nature, your kiddos will learn what happens to the animals, plants, etc. when the season shifts from the long days of summer to the longer nights of autumn.

Summer Green to Autumn Gold  By: Mia Posada

This wonderful non-fiction book teaches kids about the science behind the eye-catching, gorgeous colors they see in the fall. You can find and explore additional scientific facts about fall along with links to hands-on activities in the back of this beautifully illustrated book.

For Bigger Kids – A Wolf Called Wander By: Rosanne Parry

Inspired by the true story of a wolf searching for a safe place to call home, this book is a must-read for bigger kids! The wolf, named Swift, will travel a thousand miles across the Pacific Northwest, surviving danger at every turn as he searches for a place to start over. This is a great option for a family read-aloud!

For Mom – Outdoor Kids in an Inside World By: Steven Rinella

In an age when technology has taken over so much of our lives, we are already seeing the physical and mental consequences of living a life disconnected from the natural world. In this book, outdoor expert Steven Rinella offers practical advice for getting kids fully engaged with nature, helping them understand their place within the natural ecosystem.

Hitting the Trail

The Hike By: Alison Farrell

This fun story follows three little female explorers as they set out to conquer nature in a nearby forest. Nature science is sprinkled throughout the pages in the form of animal and plant names, and excerpts from a nature journal are included throughout. Your kids will love the silly antics and celebrate with the girls as they reach the summit of their destination.

Duck on a Bike By: David Shannon

What would happen if a duck decided it wanted to ride a bike? Find out in this hilarious book about a bunch of barnyard animals taking advantage of bikes left behind by a group of kids. Kids will want to jump on their own bikes for a fun adventure of their own.

For Bigger Kids – Ranger Ricks Guide to Hiking By: Helen Olsson

This book is the perfect addition to your young nature-lovers collection. It includes tons of information and fun activities to enhance the hiking and outdoor experience for your middle-grade kiddo. It also includes a real working compass to help them find their way.

For Mom – A Walk in the Woods By: Bill Bryson

Follow along with Bill Bryson on an epic trek across the Appalachian Trail. He introduces the history and ecology of the trail along with the interesting (and at times foolhardy) characters he encounters along the way. This book is both educational and hilarious, and it will make you want to hit the trail for your own adventure.

The Nature of Reading

Finding Wild By: Megan Wagner Lloyd

This gorgeous book shows that wild places can be found where you would least expect. Follow two kids in an urban area as they discover nature in unexpected places and unexpected ways, from the cracks of a sidewalk to the storm blowing in. It’s there if you look close enough.

Up in the Garden, Down in the Dirt By: Kate Messner

Learn about what happens in the dirt of a garden throughout the year with this eye-catching, educational book. Read along as a young girl and her grandmother plan, plant, and harvest their garden, and explore the ecosystem in and around the soil. This is part of the wonderful Over and Under series by the same author. I highly recommend the whole series!

For Bigger Kids – Wild Robot By: Peter Brown

Can a lost robot survive in the wilderness? Readers won’t want to put this book down as they follow Roz the robot while she adapts to her new home, befriending the animals and surviving the changing seasons. But can she survive when her past and present collide? This is the first book in the delightful and exciting Wild Robot series.

For Mom – Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail By: Cheryl Strayed

This memoir from Cheryl Strayed chronicles her impulsive decision to hike over 1000 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail alone to escape a troubled past. With edge-of-your-seat suspense, laugh-out-loud hilarity, and heartwarming truths, this book is a must for the nature-loving, powerful woman in all of us.

A Joy for the Senses

Explorers of the Wild By: Cale Atkinson

Follow along as two adventurers explore the wild with all their senses, prepared for anything they come across… except each other. Can a boy and a bear overcome their fear of each other and become friends and adventure partners? You’ll have to read the book to find out!

Slow Down: 50 Mindful Moments in Nature By: Rachel Williams

Did you know that you can witness magical transformations in nature every day if you know where to look? This book includes 50 stories that invite children (and their grown-ups) to slow down and take in the little details of nature. These calming stories foster mindfulness that we all need when life gets a little too fast-paced and hectic.

For Bigger Kids – The Outdoor Scientist By: Temple Grandin

From world-renowned scientist and autism spokesperson, Temple Grandin, comes a delightful book that invites kids to explore nature, ask questions, and make sense of what we see. There are 40 outdoor activities included that promote independent thinking and provide a deeper understanding of the world around us.

For Mom – Forest Therapy By: Sarah Ivens

Research shows that spending time in nature can have a myriad of benefits including improved immune functions, a decrease in stress levels, etc. This book acts as a guide for reaping the benefits of nature to provide improved health, better relationships, and a happier life.

Overcoming Obstacles

Girl Versus Squirrel By: Hayley Barrett

What do you get when you put a resourceful girl against a determined squirrel? A hilarious and heartwarming story of persistence and learning to find a way to compromise so that everyone walks away happy.

Splat the Cat and the Obstacle Course By: Rob Scotton

From the beloved Splat the Cat series, this “I Can Read” book follows Splat and his little sister Flo as they take on an obstacle course. The hilarious storyline and illustrations show Splat attempting to keep up and having a change of heart toward his sister and her abilities.

For Bigger Kids – Bear Grylls Adventure Series By: Bear Grylls

This fun series covers a variety of survival scenarios and life lessons with Bear Grylls as your guide. The main storyline follows campers at a summer camp who find and pass on a mysterious compass. The compass transports the person holding it to various locations across the world where they must survive an emergency with the help of Bear Grylls. The series shows kids conquering fears and learning lessons that will last a lifetime.

For Mom – Balanced and Barefoot By: Angela J Hanscom

Written by a pediatric occupational therapist, this book explains how unstructured freedom of movement and outdoor play benefit a child’s cognitive growth and development. It offers a variety of engaging ways to help our children grow into balanced, healthy, and resilient adults.

Bring it Outside

Roxaboxen By: Alice McLarren

Roxaboxen is a place kids can go to let their imaginations soar and create whatever they want. The only requirement? A long stick and an open, imaginative mind. This book is a must-have for any nature-lovers collection as inspiration for free play in the outdoors.

The Tea Party in the Woods By: Akiko Miyakoshi

What starts as a trip through the woods to deliver a pie turns into a magical tea party experience for little Kikko. The twists and turns of her adventure keep kiddos engaged, and the ambiguous ending allows children to weigh in on what they think happened next. They’ll want to have their own tea party in the wild!

Bigger Kids – My Side of the Mountain By: Jean Craighead George

This classic outdoor survival book has been an inspiration for middle-grade children for decades. Sam Gribley runs away from his home in New York City to live in the Catskill Mountains all by himself. He learns about courage, independence, danger, and survival during his year alone in the wild, lessons that will last him a lifetime.

For Mom – Adventuring Together By: Greta Eskridge

Many parents today complain about their relationship with their children feeling fragmented and disconnected. Greta Eskridge encourages readers to break free from familiar comforts and regular routines to experience new places and adventures as a family. Through regularly creating new experiences and intentional family adventures, we can create deep-hearted connections with our kiddos, and this book is full of ideas and tips for doing just that.

Looking to the Future

The Reasons for Seasons By: Gail Gibbons

What causes the seasons to change? Why does the amount of sunlight shift depending on the season? This fun and educational book will answer those questions and more as it walks kids through the science behind seasonal shifts and the changes they observe each season.

My 1st Book of Seasons By: Sara Kale

Introduce your little explorers to the enchanting world of nature in each season. The engaging illustrations and fun activities offer a read-and-learn experience for children of all ages to help them understand the changing world right outside their door.

For Bigger Kids – The Kid’s Guide to Exploring Nature By: Brooklyn Botanic Garden Educators

Encourage your kids to look closely at the world around them with this gorgeously illustrated guide to nature. It teaches children how to observe environments as a naturalist does through the complex interactions of plants and animals in various ecosystems. There are dozens of fun projects included that invite kids to use all of their senses to observe the world around them.

For Mom – 1000 Hours Outside: Activities to Match Screen Time with Green Time By: Ginny Yurich

Looking for ideas on how to get kids outside in all seasons? This is the book for you! It’s loaded with crafts, games, and activities to help you match green time outdoors with screen time. There are hundreds of ideas that are organized by season, making it easy to find an activity that will work well for your family.

Outdoor Books

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  • Rebecca has lived in five different states in the last decade with her Navy submariner husband and two boys. A former science teacher turned home educator, she now focuses on exploring her surrounding area (currently Virginia Beach) with her family as much as possible before life sends them on another adventure elsewhere. Their favorite outdoor activities include hiking, kayaking, camping, and paddleboarding.

1 thought on “Back to School Outdoor Books”

  1. My daughter (12) loves to art in the outdoors! Leaving things behind for others to find and taking photos of what others have gifted for us to see. The nature leaves treasures of all shapes and sizes and love is all around us just waiting to be explored. It is sometime best found through the eyes of my child on the bluest of moments to bring the best smile within.

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