We have an overwhelming number of books for children and adults on a vast array of topics. We also have the Kindle app on our iPad.
So, when I went to scope out books on outside play, I was sorely disappointed. An excuse to purchase yet more books?! As if I ever need an excuse! (And no, dear deployed husband, don’t fret! because we just went to the library instead…)
So, here are some we own and some we borrowed that were fun the past few weeks…The girls and I love poetry, and what better thing than to lay on a quilt in the yard and read nature poetry? So Jane Austen! So these may not be what some would call outside books…but whatever…
The Five in a Row curriculum has lots of great books that incorporate nature and outdoors!
Of course, being a Charlotte Mason family…we must include these!
Favorite Nature Books for Kids
Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv
“I like to play indoors better ’cause that’s where all the electrical outlets are,” reports a fourth-grader. Never before in history have children been so plugged in-and so out of touch with the natural world. In this groundbreaking new work, child advocacy expert Richard Louv directly links the lack of nature in the lives of today’s wired generation-he calls it nature deficit-to some of the most disturbing childhood trends, such as rises in obesity, Attention Deficit Disorder (Add), and depression. Some startling facts: By the 1990s the radius around the home where children were allowed to roam on their own had shrunk to a ninth of what it had been in 1970. Today, average eight-year-olds are better able to identify cartoon characters than native species, such as beetles and oak trees, in their own community. The rate at which doctors prescribe antidepressants to children has doubled in the last five years, and recent studies show that too much computer use spells trouble for the developing mind. Nature-deficit disorder is not a medical condition; it is a description of the human costs of alienation from nature. This alienation damages children and shapes adults, families, and communities. There are solutions, though, and they’re right in our own backyards. Last child in the Woods is the first book to bring together cutting-edge research showing that direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development-physical, emotional, and spiritual. What’s more, nature is a potent therapy for depression, obesity, and Add. Environment-based education dramatically improves standardized test scores and grade point averages and develops skills in problem solving, critical thinking, and decision making. Even creativity is stimulated by childhood experiences in nature.
Backyard by Donald M. Silver
An exciting journey of science discovery is as near as your own backyard. Just one small square is alive with creepers and crawlers, lifters and leapers, singers, buzzers, climbers, builders, and recyclers. Backyard invites children ages 7 and up to become nature lovers by looking, listening, touching, and smelling the world from the ground up! From the unique One Small Square series of science acitivity books. . .where children can explore exotic and familiar ecosystems in detail, one small square at a time. There’s a whole set of these books – One Small Square series!
Fun With Nature: Take Along Guide by Mel Boring
Fun with Nature helps kids discover the incredible world in their backyards. It is a compilation of seven bestselling titles: Caterpillars, Bugs and Butterflies; Frogs, Toads and Turtles; Snakes, Salamanders and Lizards; Rabbits, Squirrels and Chipmunks; Tracks, Scats and Signs; and Trees, Leaves and Bark. This entertaining book is filled with fascinating facts and awesome activities.
Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots: Gardening Together with Children by Sharon Lovejoy
Plant a pumpkinseed with a child, and cultivate wonder. This simple act of reconnecting with children with nature is Sharon Lovejoy’s purpose and joy and gift. Author of Sunflower Houses: Garden Discoveries for Children of All Ages and Hollyhock Days: Garden Adventures for the Young at Heart, Sharon Lovejoy is a nationally known garden writer whose books, television specials, and projects at her learning landscape in California have introduced thousands of children to the pleasures of gardening.
In her newest book, Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots, she presents 12 spirited, easy-to-implement ideas for theme gardens that parents and kids can grow together. Illustrated throughout by the author’s own lyrical watercolors, each garden includes a plan, the planting recipe — seeds, seedlings, and growing instructions spelled out step-by-step — and activities. There’s the Pizza Patch , a giant-size wheel garden planted in “slices” of tomatoes, zucchini, oregano, and basil. A Flowery Maze to get lost in. A Moon Garden of night-blooming flowers, including a moonflower tent. And Mother Nature’s Medicine Chest.
Discovery Walks teach kids how the gardens work, and a chapter on gardening basics includes a child-friendly 10-Minute Plan for planting and maintenance, plus a list of the top 20 plants guaranteed to make gardeners out of kids.
Pocketful of Pinecones: Nature Study With the Gentle Art of Learning by Karen Andreola
Woven into the story are:
More than 100 examples of what to look for on a nature walk,
Latin names for the living things to observed by the characters,
Nature poems and verses.
Other features include:
A supplement of selected quotations by Miss Charlotte Mason,
An annotated list of books with a nature theme-both fiction and non-fiction,
Nostalgic pencil drawings.
Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock
A matchless handbook for decades, this classic work has been the natural history bible for countless teachers and others who seek information about their environment. Written originally for those elementary school teachers who knew little of common plants and animals, and even less about the earth beneath their feet and the skies overhead, this book is for the most part as valid and helpful today as it was when first written in 1911―and revised in the spirit of its authors by a group of naturalists in 1939. After all, dandelions, toads, robins, and constellations have changed little since then! And modern society’s concern with the quality of life and the impact of people on soil, water, and wildlife makes this book even more relevant. Nature-study, as used in this handbook, encompasses all living things except humans, as well as all nonliving things such as rocks and minerals, the heavens, and weather. Of the living things described, most are common in the northeastern states, and many, such as the dandelion, milkweed, and mullein, and the house mouse, muskrat, and red fox, are so widespread that people living outside the United States will recognize them easily.
Anna Botsford Comstock very appropriately took the view that we should know first and best the things closest to us. Only then, when we have an intimate knowledge of our neighbors, should we, journey farther afield to learn about more distant things. Teachers and children will find the material in this book invaluable in that regard. Details of the most common, but in some ways the most interesting, things are brought out, first by careful, nontechnical descriptions of the things themselves and later by thoughtful questions and study units. Because the most common things are treated in greatest detail, materials for study are easy to find. Whether the reader lives in the inner city or in the rural outback, the handbook is a treasure trove of information. A teacher does not need to know much about nature to use this handbook. The information is there for the novice and the expert alike. All that is needed is an inquiring mind, senses to observe, and a willingness to think about nature on a personal level. To enter this book in search of information about any common organism, stone, or object in the sky is to open the door to a fresh and lively acquaintance with one’s environment.
The Burgess Animal Book for Children by Thornton W. Burgess
When Jenny Wren learns that Peter Rabbit would like to know more about the four-footed friends who share the Green Meadows and Green Forest with him, she encourages him to speak with Old Mother Nature who is only too happy to help. During their “classroom” chats, she not only teaches Peter about Arctic Hare and Antelope Jack but also tells him about such creatures as Flying Squirrel, Mountain Beaver, Pocket Gopher, Grasshopper Mouse, Silvery Bat, Mule Deer, and Grizzly Bear.
Told with all the warmth and whimsy of Burgess’s stories, this engaging book acquaints youngsters with many forms of wildlife and the animals’ relationships with one another. The charming collection of entertaining tales is sure to transport today’s young readers to the same captivating world of nature that delighted generations of children before them.
The Burgess Bird Book for Children by Thornton W. Burgess
Parents, teachers, and young readers all over the world have enthusiastically welcomed the Dover reprints of Thornton Burgess’s classic nature books, including the perennial bestseller, The Adventures of Peter Cottontail. In the present volume, the author’s goal of introducing children to the fascinating subject of bird life is brilliantly realized in story fashion. While “interviewing” Slaty the Junco, Redwing the Blackbird, Melody the Wood Thrush, Spooky the Screech Owl, and dozens of other common birds, our guides, Peter Rabbit and saucy Jenny Wren — and, of course, the reader — learn about their physical appearances, eating and nesting habits, and songs and calls. Over eighty years after its first publication, the book remains noteworthy and valuable for its extraordinarily successful blend of information and entertainment.
Parables from Nature by Mrs. Alfred Gatty
Parables for children inspired by nature. This collection includes all 29 stories from the first, second, third, and fourth series, originally published in separate volumes.
The Tree Book for Kids and Their Grown-Ups by Gina Ingoglia
The birds, the bees, the flowers and the…TREES! How do trees grow? Why do leaves change? What kind of tree is that? The acclaimed Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s guide answers all kids’ (and their parents’) tree-related questions in an easy-to-understand way. It features 33 different trees that grow in North America, from rural Georgia to the streets of New York City to the California suburbs. Each profile includes a beautiful botanical watercolor illustration by author Gina Ingoglia showing the tree as it appears in a particular season, as well as life-size depictions of its leaf, flower, and seed. Readers of all ages will be in awe over the wonderful world of trees.
Child’s Introduction to the Night Sky: The Story of the Stars, Planets, and Constellations–and How You Can Find Them in the Sky by Michael Driscoll
Children eight and up will enjoy this conversational but information-packed introduction to astronomy and stargazing, which includes the achievements of the great scientists, the history of space exploration, the story of our solar system, the myths behind the constellations, and how to navigate the night sky. Whimsical color illustrations on every page and handy definitions and sidebars help engage younger readers and develop their interest. The special star wheel helps locate stars and planets from any location at any time of year.
The Kids’ Nature Book: 365 Indoor/Outdoor Activities and Experiences by Susan Milord
Shore to desert, country to city,exciting nature activities await discovery from beneath th smallest rock to the vast sky above.
With a full year of “nature-nurturing” activities, Milord launches kids on a lifelong love affair with the natural world.
Survivor Kid: A Practical Guide to Wilderness Survival by Denise Long
Anyone can get lost while camping or on a hike and Survivor Kid teaches young adventurers the survival skills they need if they ever find themselves lost or in a dangerous situation in the wild.
Written by a search and rescue professional and lifelong camper, it s filled with safe and practical advice on building shelters and fires, signaling for help, finding water and food, dealing with dangerous animals, learning how to navigate, and avoiding injuries in the wilderness. Ten projects include building a simple brush shelter, using a reflective surface to start a fire, testing your navigation skills with a treasure hunt, and casting animal tracks to improve your observation skills.
For ages 9 and Up.
These are some of my favorite books about nature study.
But nothing compares to getting outside in nature! It doesn’t have to be stressful. The weather doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s ok to get dirty or wet. You don’t have to have a checklist or journal or notebook. Just go explore and Have fun!