Want to learn more about using the outdoors as a learning tool for your whole family? Check out these books to help inspire you to bring nature into your child’s education.

Outside learning with books.

Walter Payton Edwards @shootsipeat

 

Homeschooling

If you have made the decision to homeschool your kiddos or are considering it, check out these books for inspiration, encouragement and resources to help you along your way.

The Call of the Wild and Free: Reclaiming Wonder in your Child’s Education By Ainsley Arment 

This versatile book offers information, advice, and encouragement for caregivers that are considering homeschooling, looking for inspiration for their current homeschooling approach, or even those who simply want supplementary resources to enhance their kids’ traditional educations.

The Brave Learner: Finding Everyday Magic in Homeschool, Learning, and Life By Julie Bogart 

Bogart takes a child-centered approach to schooling by showing parents how to make education an exciting experience for their kids and create an environment that naturally moves learning forward. She encourages caregivers to make room for surprise, mystery, risk, and adventure in their routine so their kids can approach life with curiosity, joy, and the courage to take learning risks.

Ideas for Getting Kids Learning in Nature

These books offer a plethora of fun and engaging ideas, tips, and activities, to help you get your kids outside to learn and have fun in nature.

Vitamin N: The Essential Guide to a Nature-Rich Life By Richard Louv

This practical guidebook includes over 500 activities for children and adults along with down-to-earth advice for connecting with the power and joy of the natural world right now. You will also find thought-provoking essays and informational websites on everything from outdoor activities to choosing nature-smart resources such as schools and medical professionals.

The Green Hour: A Daily Dose of Nature for Happier, Healthier, Smarter Kids By Todd Christopher 

Here you’ll find a range of easy science lessons,  projects, and fun facts meant to engage and energize your child, as well as the practical advice for caregivers that makes getting outdoors less stressful. There are options for all age levels along with book recommendations and tips to help make your nature exploration more meaningful.

Play the Forest School Way: Woodland Games and Craft for Adventurous Kids By Jane Worroll and Peter Houghton

This outdoor adventure manual encourages self-esteem, confidence, and social skills through engagement with nature. It is loaded with ideas from making nature jewelry and whittling a bow and arrow, to building a shelter and foraging for food with variations based on age group and group size.

A Year of Forest School: Outdoor Play and Skill-Building for Every Season By Jane Worroll

This book follows the previous “Play the Forest School Way” guide with brand new games and activities. It is structured around the four seasons with each chapter packed full of step-by-step Forest School games and activities that harmonize with the weather and what’s happening in nature at that time of year.

Guides that Inspire Kids to Explore Nature

These fun guides speak straight to the kids. They include things like fun outdoor projects, seek-and-find lists, photo scavenger hunts, and kid-friendly recipes to try. These are great to throw in their backpack on a hike or take along on your next outdoor adventure.

The Kid’s Guide to Exploring Nature By Brooklyn Botanic Garden Educators

This beautifully illustrated guide inspires kids to look closely at the world around them and teaches them how to observe environments as a naturalist does. This book shows how the complex ecosystems of plants and animals in the woods, at the beach, and in a city park change with the seasons, and includes fun activities that encourage families to explore nature in new ways.

Backpack Explorer: On the Nature Trail By Editors of Storey Publishing

This take-along field guide is designed for kids aged 4-8 and includes seek-and-find lists, on-the-trail art projects, and discovery games to get kids engaged in hands-on learning about nature. It even includes a pull-out magnifying glass to give a close-up look at the tiny aspects of nature such as tiny insects and seed pods.

Exploring Nature Activity Book for Kids: 50 Creative Projects to Spark Curiosity in the Outdoors By Kim Andrews 

This gorgeously illustrated activity book includes 50 amazing outdoor projects that are designed for a variety of seasons, regions, and age ranges. The hands-on, get-dirty approach of this book encourages natural observation, exploration, and learning in the outdoors.

Foraging with Kids: 52 Wild and Free Edibles to Enjoy with Your Children By Adele Nozedar

This fun, useful book encourages families to interact with their environment and gain knowledge and practical understanding of the natural world by foraging for 50 easy-to-identify plants. Once they have foraged their plants, children will be amazed by the diverse practical uses that they can set them to, from making soap or stopping minor cuts to creating delicious meals.

Why Learning in Nature is so Important

These titles delve into the research and science about why getting kiddos outside is so important. They also include tips, advice, and family activities you can do right outside your door.

How to Raise a Wild Child: The Art and Science of Falling in Love with Nature By Scott D. Sampson

Sampson, the host and science advisor for the tv show “Dinosaur Train”, makes a compelling case for the importance of fostering a “nature connection” in children in the age of boundless technology. He also provides a variety of ways to explore and enjoy nature starting in our own backyards.  

Balanced and Barefoot: How Unrestricted Outdoor Play Makes for Strong, Confident, and Capable Children By Angela J. Hanscom 

This book, written by a pediatric occupational therapist, shows how unstructured freedom of movement and outdoor play is vital for the cognitive development and growth of our children. Hanscom offers tons of fun, engaging ways to get our kids outside and help ensure they grow into healthy, balanced, and resilient adults.

There’s no Such Thing as Bad Weather: A Scandinavian Mom’s Secrets for Raising Healthy, Resilient, and Confident Kids By: Linda Akeson McGurk 

This personal narrative illustrates how Scandinavian culture could hold the key to raising healthy, resilient, and confident children in America and beyond. McGurk helps us get over our fear of exposing our children to “poor weather conditions” in order to let them have the freedom to grow and explore in nature.

Did we miss any books? What books would you add to the list?

Looking for more information? Here are some other Hike it Baby posts that may be helpful.

10 Ways to Combine Nature and Virtual Learning

Nature-Rich Resources for Distance Learning and Homeschooling

9 Diverse Children’s Nature Books to Add to Your Collection

Learning in Nature: Programs that Promote Love for Nature

Epic Adventures Begin Right Outside Your Door with The New Outdoor Activity Booklet Series

9 Diverse Children’s Nature Books to Add to Your Collection

The Dos and Don’ts of Risky Play

 

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Hike it Baby is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to getting families outdoors and on trails across the U.S. and internationally, supporting, educating and inspiring families through their more than 300 communities across North America. Since its grassroots inception in 2013 in Portland, Oregon, Hike it Baby is now a growing community of 270,000 families and 500 volunteer branch ambassadors hosting more than 1,600 hikes per month. More information, as well as daily hike schedules, can be found at HikeitBaby.com, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram.


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