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Outdoor Activities: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best children's books about outdoor activities?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to outdoor activities. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about outdoor activities.

Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid.

When it comes to children’s stories about outdoor activities, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like The Camp-Out Mystery (The Boxcar Children Mysteries #27) to popular sellers like Flashlight to some of our favorite hidden gems like The Caterpillar and the Polliwog.

We hope this list of kids books about outdoor activities can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book! As you explore the list, please comment below to let us know what books you would add.

All Aboard! National Parks book
#1
All Aboard! National Parks
Written by Kevin Meyers and Haily Meyers & illustrated by Haily Meyers
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

From the creators of BabyLit®: Every area of the world can be mapped out for adventure, and brilliant babies love the sophistication of traveling by train. This new board book series written by the husband and wife team of Haily and Kevin Meyers and illustrated by Haily, celebrates the unique qualities of each city while employing a fun primer element to tell the story. These books will have you and baby seeing the world by train and will turn story time into a globetrotting event. Perfect as a souvenir or as part of a geography collection for brilliant babies, the All Aboard! series will be pulling into your station next!

The Caterpillar and the Polliwog book
#2
The Caterpillar and the Polliwog
Written & illustrated by Jack Kent
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Impressed by the proud caterpillar’s boast that she will turn into a butterfly when she grows up, a polliwog determines to watch the caterpillar very carefully and turn into a butterfly too.

A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee book
#3
A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee
Written by Chris Van Dusen
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
Thoughts from Mr. Staccato

A silly tale of a night in a camper gone awry. I found it interesting that the first half of the book is just a cute story about a man and his dog enjoying a campout together in the beauty of nature. It’s only half-way through the book, after Mr. Magee and his dog Dee have gone to bed, the tone of the book changes and the comedy begins.

Mr. Magee and his dog Dee go camping and have an adventure with a hungry bear.

Because of an Acorn book
#4
Because of an Acorn
Written by Adam Schaefer and Lola M. Schaefer & illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Because of an acorn, a tree grows, a bird nests, a seed becomes a flower. Enchanting die-cuts illustrate the vital connections between the layers of an ecosystem in this magical book. Wander down the forest path to learn how every tree, flower, plant, and animal connect to one another in spiraling circles of life. An acorn is just the beginning.

Flashlight book
#5
Flashlight
Written & illustrated by Lizi Boyd
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6
Thoughts from The Goodfather

While it doesn’t have words, Flashlight still tells an adventurous story of a young boy exploring the woods with his flashlight and the funny, ironic turn his adventure takes. The simple illustration style captures the feeling of searching in the dark, when often only outlines of shapes can be seen. Yet there is still a lot to study and observe on each page, and some mischief to discover, too. The dark outlines contrast in a fun way with the detail that emerges wherever the flashlight shines.

Inside a tent it’s cozy. But what is going on outside? Is it dark? Is it scary? Not if you have your trusty flashlight! Told solely through images and using a spare yet dramatic palette, artist Lizi Boyd has crafted a masterful exploration of night, nature, and art. Both lyrical and humorous, this visual poem—like the flashlight beam itself—reveals that there is magic in the darkness. We just have to look for it.

  1. Who Peek-A-Flap - Introduces animals & habitats Supports comprehension & vocabulary growth Entertains with exploration & surprise Peek and explore in the forest! You’ll meet all sorts of animal friends. Each scene features a pair of lift-a-flaps with peek-a-boo surprises. Inside the flaps, you’ll find fun facts about the animals in the artwork. ISBN: 978-1-68052-125-2 7.0”w x 7.0”h 6 peek-a-flap spreads embossed cover with foil

  2. Scaredy Squirrel Goes Camping - Uncomfortable with the idea of camping outdoors, Scaredy Squirrel engages in a camping venture on his couch away from mosquitoes, skunks and zippers and hopes to watch a camping show on his new television, which requires him to hunt for an electrical outlet in the woods.

  3. Babies in the Forest - Meet forest animals with Rusty and Ruby! This sturdy board book has especially thick flaps for baby to lift and grasp.Illustrations include lots of details to hold baby’s attention.

  4. Sammy Keyes and the Wild Things - While on her first hiking and camping trip, thirteen-year-old Sammy tries to solve a mystery involving endangered condors while avoiding scorpions, ticks, and embarrassment.

Tall Tall Tree book
#10
Tall Tall Tree
Written & illustrated by Anthony D. Fredericks
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

“High in a redwood tree is an unseen world of all kinds of animals. Readers will meet them through rhyming verses as they count them 1 to 10”—

A Walk in the Forest book
#11
A Walk in the Forest
Written by Jaye Garnett & illustrated by Lisa Manuzak
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Curious toddlers and preschoolers will learn fun facts in this Smithsonian Kids book about forest creatures including deer, bears, beavers, foxes, rabbits, birds, and many more. Every page features an engaging “spinning wheel” that when turned by your little one builds fine motor skills and introduces additional forest plants and animals in the viewing window. The sturdy board pages and built-in handle are just right for little hands, and the beautiful, detailed illustrations will engage, entertain, and educate your little one. Explore up in the trees and underground. Learn fun facts and new vocabulary words. Discover where animals make their homes. Knowledge helps kids shine!

Don't Feed the Bear book
#12
Don't Feed the Bear
Written by Kathleen Doherty & illustrated by Chip Wass
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8

A park ranger and a bear face off in a battle of signs as they each try to get treats from visiting campers.

Piper Reed, Campfire Girl book
#13
Piper Reed, Campfire Girl
Written by Kimberly Willis Holt & illustrated by Christine Davenier
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-11

Fifth-grader Piper and her sisters are thrilled about their first-ever camping trip until they learn it will be at Halloween, but other Navy families join them, including an annoying new member of the Gypsy Club.

A Campfire Tale book
#14
A Campfire Tale
Written by Sarah Glenn Marsh & illustrated by Ana Gomez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

The illustrations in this book are so fun! When Dragon is new to camp, one little camper decides to be his buddy to help him and be their friend, but ends up being a little frustrated with Dragon. The story ends with a bunch of happy campers!

“Ever been stuck with a friend who’s totally uncool—and worried that it will rub off on you?

Welcome to Camp Wildwood! It’s Dragon’s first day, and his buddy would LIKE to show him a good time. But Dragon doesn’t seem to fit in with the boys and girls. He overturns the boat, ruins the puppet show, and even sets the tent on fire. Then, just as his buddy is about to give up, Dragon comes through in a pinch. This sweet, funny picture book teaches an important lesson about the true meaning of friendship—and in accepting the strengths and weaknesses of others.”

  1. 1,2,3 Make a S'More WIth Me - A fun counting book perfect for beginning readers.

  2. S Is for S'Mores - “Introduces camping from A to Z using poetry, prose, and illustrations in a children’s picture book. Includes information on beach camping, canyons, foliage, camping gear, John Muir, Juliette Gordon Low, and more”—Provided by publisher.

  3. Our Great Big Backyard - To help commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of the National Park Service, #1 New York Times bestselling authors former First Lady Laura Bush and her daughter Jenna Bush Hager have created an exuberant picture book tribute to our national parks and the importance and fun of connecting with nature. Our Great Big Backyard follows Jane, whose plans of spending the summer playing video games with her friends are dashed when her parents announce that her family is going on a road trip to national parks around the country. Yet somewhere between the Everglades and Big Bend National Park, things begin to change. Jane starts paying attention to the magnificent sights and spends less time looking at her screen. The stunning views open up her imagination as she and her brother see everything that nature has to offer. And the more Jane discovers, the more she realizes how much there is to love about the outdoors—whether she’s in a national park across the country or right in her own backyard.

  4. Over in the Forest - Follow the tracks of ten woodland animals but . . . uh-oh . . . watch out for the skunk! Children learn the ways of forest animals to the rhythm of “Over in the Meadow” as they leap like a squirrel, dunk like a raccoon, and pounce like a fox. They will also count the babies and search for ten hidden forest animals. Cut paper illustrations add to the fun in this delightful introduction to a woodland habitat.

Emma Dilemma and the Camping Nanny book
#19
Emma Dilemma and the Camping Nanny
Written by Patricia Hermes & illustrated by Abby Carter
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-11

Nine-year-old Emma O’Fallon finds herself in increasing difficulties at home and at school as her determined efforts to break up the growing attachment between Annie, the Irish nanny, and Bo, her boyfriend, cause chaos on a family camping trip and Emma’srelationship with her best friend Luisa seems to be going from bad to worse.

The Camp-Out Mystery (The Boxcar Children Mysteries #27) book
#20
The Camp-Out Mystery (The Boxcar Children Mysteries #27)
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

A camp-out trip is almost spoiled by loud music and the disappearance of a lantern—and Grandfather.

The Perfect Picnic book
#21
The Perfect Picnic
Written by Ciara Flood
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A hilarious story from the author of Those Pesky Rabbits about friendship, perfectionists, and losing your sandwiches.

Squirrel and Mole are the best of friends, and they do everything together, including going on picnics. But while Mole doesn’t really mind where they have a picnic, Squirrel is very determined that this picnic will be PERFECT, and that means finding the perfect place. But does such a thing exist?

Sunrise Summer book
#22
Sunrise Summer
Written by Matthew Swanson & illustrated by Robbi Behr
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Sunrise Summer is a picture book by writer Matthew Swanson and illustrator Robbi Behr that celebrates self-confidence and empowerment, as a girl’s role changes in her family’s fishing expeditions.

When a girl and her family travel four thousand miles from home, it’s not your typical summer vacation. Everything is different on the Alaskan tundra―where the grizzly bears roam and the sockeye salmon swim―including the rules. A girl can do things she wouldn’t, and couldn’t, do at home.

She can wake up at midnight to work with her mom on a fishing crew. She can learn what it means to be an essential part of a team. She can become a braver, stronger, and ever-more capable version of herself. She can take her next big step.

She’s ready for her first real sunrise.

An Imprint Book

The Very Hungry Caterpillar's Garden Picnic book
#23
The Very Hungry Caterpillar's Garden Picnic
Written & illustrated by Eric Carle
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Read along with The Very Hungry Caterpillar as he eats some of his favorite foods in this new scratch-and-sniff board book!

Munch through different foods with The Very Hungry Caterpillar in this brand-new scratch-and-sniff board book! Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar Scratch-and-Sniff includes a sweet story about Eric Carle’s classic character eating through his favorite foods and includes six fun scents to scratch and sniff on every spread for added fun!

    Did you enjoy our children's book recommendations? Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!

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