10 Nature Books to Inspire Kids to Get Outside and Explore

Written by Shayle Follows

With screentime adding up, childhood now is a lot less free and adventurous than we would like it to be. So kids don’t miss out on the bursts of creativity and imagination that come with outdoor adventure, we have chosen 10 nature books to get kids outside and exploring.

We have chosen books that brim with adventure and the beauty of the natural world. These stories are sure to give your budding readers lots of inspiration. Books are a way we can encourage children to want to get outside and explore which is a great, positive way to learn. We have also included activity suggestions with each book that doesn’t include its own activities to give you a little inspiration to get started, learn and have fun outdoors.

1. RHS The Magic and Mystery of Trees, Jen Green, Claire McElfatrick

RHS The Magic and Mystery of Trees, Jen Green, Claire McElfatrick Nature Book for Kids
RHS The Magic and Mystery of Trees, Jen Green, Claire McElfatrick Nature Book for Kids

Delve into the natural science of trees in this nature and science children’s book. From the highest branch all the way down to the complex “wood wide web” of roots, every part of a tree plays an important role. Not only in its own growth but that the ecosystem of the whole forest or woodland.

This book is truly a delightful non-fiction read, each page of this nature book is nothing short of astonishingly beautiful. Enjoy a mixture of real images, vibrant illustrations, and patchwork-layering, making each page feel like a nature scavenger hunt.

This book includes its own super fun and practical activities for kids. From planting your own tree to how to measure a tree’s age, it highlights the importance of trees to our planet through exciting hands-on activities. Children will begin to understand the importance of trees and take their first steps towards safeguarding them for future generations.

Reading age: 7-9 years

Buy now on Amazon

2. Superworm, Julia Donaldson

Superworm Julia Donaldson Nature Book for Kids

I’ve not met a parent yet who doesn’t know the words to at least one of Julia Donaldson’s books. A firm favourite in our household is the one and only Superworm. The wiggly, squiggly superhero is a worm! He can fish Spider out of a well, and rescue Toad from a busy road. But who will come to Superworm’s rescue, when he’s captured by a wicked Wizard Lizard?

Luckily, all of Superworm’s insect friends have a cunning plan. A beautiful story about insects, kindness and teamwork.

Reading age: 6+

Activities you could do inspired by this book:

  • Dig up some dirt and search for earthworms in your garden or local green space.
  • Buy your own worm farm.
  • Feed the worms and learn what food they like best.
Buy now on Amazon

3. The Wonders of Nature, Ben Hoare

The Wonders of Nature, Ben Hoare
The Wonders of Nature, Ben Hoare

From opals to orchids and tapirs to toadstools, this beautiful collection brings more than 100 incredible items from the natural world to life. Every page of this reference book reveals fascinating animals, plants, rocks, minerals, and microorganisms that will wow children and adults alike.

Fantastic photography and illustrations showcase the wonders of planet Earth beautifully. Children will love exploring the detailed close-up images of different plants, animals and rocks. With storybook descriptions and surprising facts about their natural history, this book will capture your child’s attention and keep them coming back for more.

Reading age: 7-9

Activities you could do inspired by this book:

  • Go on a nature scavenger hunt.
  • Start a nature journal.
  • Take a path you typically go on, but do it slowly and mindfully, trying to notice the small things you wouldn’t normally as you walk along.
Buy now on Amazon

4. The Bear in the Stars, Alexis Snell

The Bear in the Stars, Alexis Snell
The Bear in the Stars, Alexis Snell

A stunning, lyrical picture book that teaches children about climate change. It is a timely modern fable that portrays the transformative power of kindness.

There was once a bear, a great, white bear – Queen of Beasts. Her kingdom was a beautiful, cold, glistening place. But over the years the ice disappeared, slipping away like sand through an hourglass. Slowly, slowly, one by one, the other animals moved on.

The Great Bear has no choice but to leave her snowy realm to search for food, friends and a new home. She soon discovers a world that is growing hotter whilst hearts grow colder – until one small act of kindness changes everything.

The Bear in the Stars is a story about loss, kindness and new beginnings.

Reading age: All ages

Activities you could do inspired by this book:

  • Teach children about recycling and show them how you can recycle at home.
  • Grow your own food, you can do this as simply as tomato’s from the windowsill.
  • Help the birds in the Winter, make your own bird feeders and give animals a helping hand.
Buy now on Amazon

5. The Tiny Seed, Eric Carle

The Tiny Seed, Eric Carle

We love the moral of this book that small things can be strong and powerful.

This book follows the seasons, a tiny seed flies along on the wind. It is too small to fall into the ocean and drown. It is too small to be seen by a bird and eaten. It is also too small to be gobbled by a mouse. It may be small, but it is patient and strong. It lies in the ground and takes its time and eventually becomes a flowering plant. The tiny seed grows and becomes a beautiful, strong flower.

It has the illustrations of Eric Carle which are just as engaging as ‘The Hungry Caterpillar’ and it has educational value, it is a great introduction to the life-cycle of flowering plants.

Reading age: 4-8 years 

Activities you could do inspired by this book:

  • Make a sensory table with different types of seeds.
  • Make a seed collage.
  • Plant and grow your own fruit, vegetables, or flowers from seeds.
Buy now on Amazon

6. Mechanica, Lance Baldachin

echanica nature book for kids, Lance Baldachin
echanica nature book for kids, Lance Baldachin

For imaginative children who like to think outside the box. Learn about insects with Mechanica, an imaginative field guide for those who love the earth but would like to see what would happen to it if we didn’t protect it.

The book is a look into the future when the earth lacks any natural life due to human destruction. However, mechanical creatures have been made to replace what was lost.

Reading age: 8 – 12 years

Activities you could do inspired by this book:

  • Hunt for some insects and sketch them.
  • Design your own insects from the future.
  • Create a bug hotel for your local insects.
  • Explore with children the life cycles of insects and see if you can find evidence of different stages in your area (e.g. cocoon, butterfly).
Buy now on Amazon

7. Run Wild, David Covell

Run Wild, David Covell
Run Wild nature book for children, David Covell

Get back to nature in this gorgeous sunlit filled book that celebrates the joy of being outdoors. This book starts sad, dark and dreary with a boy engrossed with a digital device. But a girl runs by his window and shouts, “Hey, you! Sky’s blue!” which sparks a change.

The boy is intrigued and runs out after her leaving his phone behind, he runs into a world of sunshine, dewy grass and warm sands. They chase rabbits, jump in mud puddles, float in water, and run against the wind. It’s a wonderful reminder that there are so many adventures to be found when you simply put down the screen. Run Wild is an exquisite and kid-friendly reminder of how wonderful life can be beyond doors and screens.

Reading age: 3-5 years

Activities you could do inspired by this book:

  • Jump in puddles.
  • Have races/ play games together in the garden or park.
  • Hunt down a bridge and play pooh sticks together.
Buy now on Amazon

8. You’re Missing It! By Brady Smith and Tiffani Thiessen

You're Missing It! By Brady Smith and Tiffani Thiessen Nature Book for Kids

Sometimes…we the adults need the reminder! It’s all well and good encouraging children to reduce screentime however children learn from our example and sometimes it’s the parents or guardians who need a reminder to turn off their phones and be in the present moment to enjoy the sights and sounds around them.

So in this book, at the neighbourhood park children exclaim over the wonders all around while the silly grownups stare at their screens.

This book is a great way to discuss engaging in the present moment.

Reading age: 3-5 years

Activities you could do inspired by this book:

  • Be present at home, have a ‘technology jar’ and put your electronic devices in for a few hours per day.
  • Don’t look at your phone when out and exploring.
Buy now on Amazon

9. Daniel Finds a Poem, Micha Archer

Daniel Finds a Poem, Micha Archer, children's nature book

What is poetry? Is it glistening morning dew? Spider thinks so. Is it crisp leaves crunching? That’s what Squirrel says. Could it be a cool pond, sun-warmed sand, or moonlight on the grass? Maybe poetry is all of these things, as it is something special for everyone, you just have to take the time to really look and listen.

The magical thing is that poetry is in everyone, and Daniel is on his way to discovering a poem of his own after spending time with his animal friends. What is poetry? If you look and listen, it’s all around you!

We love this fun and engaging way to teach children about poetry and maybe it will encourage them to write their own.

Reading age: 5-8 years 

Activities you could do inspired by this book:

  • Take a notebook out on a walk and write down things you and your children consider poetry like the characters in the story.
  • Explore different poets and poems together.
  • Act this book or a favourite poem. Very often it is an ideal way to reinforce the learning.
Buy now on Amazon

10. National Trust: 2021 Nature Month-By-Month, Anna Wilson

National Trust: 2021 Nature Month-By-Month, Anna Wilson
National Trust: 2021 Nature Month-By-Month, Anna Wilson

The Ultimate Guide to 2021! What kind of birds can you spot at the seaside? How do you make the perfect pancakes? When is the best time to spot butterflies or play ‘conkers’? Discover all the brilliant things you can see, make and do with this amazing month-by-month guide to the year.

Divided into months, this book guides you and your children through the seasons with fun facts and activities, as well as interesting dates to look out for in each chapter.

Published in collaboration with the National Trust, this fantastic book is packed with exciting indoor and outdoor activities and crafts that can be enjoyed and revisited all year round, including:

  • Nature spotter guides.
  • Delicious seasonal recipes.
  • Things to build and plant.
  • Monthly astronomy facts such as constellation spotting and phases of the moon.

Reading age: 7 – 10 years

Buy now on Amazon

We hope you have enjoyed reading about our 10 chosen nature books to inspire children, get kids outside and exploring. Let us know your own and your children’s favourites in the comments below.


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