The Go Wild Go West blog

5 Books for Outdoor Loving Children

Nature books for children

Getting the kids to sit down and read is a struggle in our house. They’d rather be jumping in mud, chasing butterflies, or generally causing carnage outside.

As outdoor loving children however, there are certain nature books that have captured their attention and become firm favourites. These are the books that the boys will now sit down and flick through at home, or bring out on our adventures, or use to plan new adventures! As a parent, I love them too. They’re interesting, useful, and full of great ideas for things to do outdoors with the children.

Here I’ve listed our 5 favourite books for outdoor loving kids;

camping mornings
Easy to read nature books

1. The Nature Tracker’s Handbook, Nick Baker

This book is awesome – there’s no other word!

It’s a really thorough guide on identifying and tracking wildlife. Full of photos, diagrams, and tips this handbook helps you to find and decipher all sorts of clues that animals leave behind – from tree markings to animal trails.

This isn’t a ‘children’s book’ necessarily, but the boys have really taken to it and learnt so much from using it. It now comes on every adventure and has helped us identify all sorts from badger scratchings to Mistlethrush poo! For all those times you see something and think ‘what on earth could that be?’ This book will have the answer!

Have a look at our guide to becoming a wildlife detective – all based on this book!

2. The Stick Book, Jo Schofield & Fiona Danks

Crafting has never been a hit in this house. On a rainy day, I often think how nice it would be if the children would sit down and make something out of felt… alas no. No interest whatsoever. I was thrilled, therefore, when we discovered The Stick Book. It’s the non-crafters answer to crafting.

This book is full of fantastic and simple things to do with sticks…. That’s right, just the average stick you find on the ground. Quite frankly, my children could play with sticks all day every day and this book is brilliant for new ideas. Activities vary from building dens, to making magic wands, spear-throwers, and pea-shooters; from making a sun clock to playing ‘catch the flag’. The kids look through this book with wide-eyed enthusiasm and are desperate to go out and find some sticks to play with. Great for kids of all ages.

Learn how to make and bow and arrow here!

bow and arrow
Stick book inspiration: making a bow and arrow

3. The Little Book of the Dawn Chorus

This lovely board book of birds has been a firm favourite since the children were babies. Did you know that there’s a natural order to the Dawn Chorus? The birds don’t all start singing at once; some are up and singing long before the sun rises, whilst others decide to sleep in a little later before they get going.

This book takes you through the common birds of the Dawn Chorus. Starting with the earliest singer, the Redstart (80  minutes before sunrise), and finishing with the Starling (15 minutes before sunrise). As well as pictures, there are some great facts about each bird listed.

dawn chorus book
A great way to learn bird song for young and old

The biggest winner for the kids though is the sounds…. Each bird has a sound button which play its song. Since they were first toddling, the boys have carted this book around with them, in and out of nursery and school to show their friends and teachers. It’s also really useful for adults to learn common bird song too!

*Also available as woodland bird songs and garden bird songs

Why not head out on a sunrise walk to hear the dawn chorus and test out all you’ve learnt?

kids bird watching
learning all about birds

4. RSPB’s First Book of… (pond life; butterflies & moths), Derek Niemann

This fantastic series of nature books from the RSPB is great for young readers. With big writing and colourful pictures, these are perfect for encouraging young kids to read. We now own the full series, but pond life and butterflies have always been the favourites here. I frequently find the children sitting in the garden reading bits of these books out to each other… a rare moment of calm!

pond dipping
pond dipping

Learn about Brimstones, Large Admirals and Peacocks or bloodworms, leeches and newts and then tick off all you’ve seen in the spotter’s guide at the back of each book.

Our ‘First Book of Pond Life’ is now slightly rippled and manky after taking the plunge during a pond dipping expedition, but this makes it all the more treasured.

Why not head out on a night time pond dipping expedition to see what you can find?

book of pond life
Identifying pond life

5. Grow, Forage and Make, Alys Fowler

The children love this book and so do I! It’s all about the awesomeness of plants and gives ideas for some amazing experiments to help learn about how plants work. From growing an avocado tree to making dandelion pancakes, this book is great for kids of all ages who love nature.

My children are very keen on conducting experiments at the moment, and with all the recent home-schooling, this book has been a life saver. Our avocado tree is doing amazingly, and we now love foraging wild leaves.

There are beautiful pictures and some really great ideas for fun activities with an educational twist that the kids don’t even realise….

We’ve learnt all sorts about foraging. Why not try foraging for Sticky Willy or Wild Garlic and then cook in the wild!

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