It’s no secret that our planet needs help. It needs people who will strive to protect and nurture the earth in ways we have failed to do in the past. That’s why here at Hike it Baby, we are striving to raise a generation to love nature and the outdoors. Our children are our future, and teaching them to respect the environment from an early age is the first step to ensuring the future is a bright one for our planet. That being said, it’s not always easy to help kiddos growing up in a technology-heavy lifestyle to step back from the screens and engage in the natural world. That’s why we have compiled this list of books to add to your collection to help you motivate your family to step out into nature, even if it’s the nature you find in your own backyard.

Children’s Books

Younger Kiddos

    • Spring Hike by Dineo DowdThis story helps children understand the change of seasons, the excitement of hiking, and the importance of what it means to “leave no trace.” This is the third book from Dowd, all of which were created to inspire children to go outside safely and enjoy all that nature has to offer.
    • Get Dressed Sasquatch by Derek Sullivan and Kyle Sullivan This silly story follows a sasquatch enjoying his home in the Pacific Northwest when a rule-touting forest ranger comes along to tell him to put on some clothes. Laugh along with your kids as you read this fun, rhyming tale about being free to be yourself. 

Check out these other great titles for younger children:

Older Children

    • Over and Under the Pond by Kate Messner Discover the animals and plants that make up the rich, interconnected mountain pond ecosystem. This book is part of the highly recommended Over and Under Series which also includes “Over and Under the Snow” and  “Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt.” 
    • The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest by Lynne Cherry This story depicts a man who grows tired when trying to chop down a Great Kapok Tree in the Amazon RainForest. As he sleeps, the creatures of the forest whisper to him about the importance of trees and how “all living things depend on one another.” This book provides a wonderful starting point for a discussion on conservation with your kids. 

Check out these other great titles for older kiddos:

Books with Advice on Getting your Kiddos Outside (and why it’s important)

    • There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather by Linda Akeson McGurk The author sets out to discover if her native Scandinavian philosophy of “there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes” could hold the key to raising healthier, resilient, and confident children in America. This memoir is filled with ideas that will get your kids outside, reaping the many benefits of nature with more confidence and independence. 
    • The Down and Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids by Helen Olsson Does the idea of camping with kids elicit feelings of dread or anxiety? If so, this book is for you! It is filled with tips and tools to make your next campout enjoyable for the whole family, and it even includes recipes, activity ideas, games, and checklists for your next adventure.

Check out these other great options that are filled with advice and tips for getting your kiddos outside:

Books Filled with Activities to Inspire Outdoor Play

    • The Outdoor Toddler Activity Book by Krissy Bonning-Gould This book includes a diverse collection of activities geared toward getting toddlers outside to explore and grow in nature. The chapters are split into types of outdoor activity (such as messy play and outdoor art) and includes skill-building icons that show what each activity teaches your little one.
    • The Green Hour by Todd Christopher This book is based on the recommendation from the National Wildlife Federation that every parent should give their kids a “green hour” every day for unstructured play and interaction with the natural world. It is filled with activities designed to encourage discovery, creative play, and a wonder of nature for families with children of all ages. 

Check out these other titles for more outdoor activity ideas:

Click here to download the list of Books to Help Your Kids (And You!) Engage In Nature to keep as a handy reference!

Nature Book Checklist

Want to dig into more books about nature? Join the Hike it Baby online bookclub


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, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Photo courtesy of Rebecca Hosley.

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