The Best Books To Inspire Outdoor Play

Whilst we love anything that inspires kids to enjoy outdoor play, we also looove books.

Nat from @the.teacher.mumma has kindly shared a list of her favourite books all about nature. We hope you discover some new favourites and are inspired to grab some gumboots and head outside.

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Be Wild, Little One by Olivia Hope

Every child can have a wild side! This book allows you to escape to and immerse yourself in nature. Journey to a multitude of settings and habitats; climb trees, dig in sand, dance with fireflies and wish on stars. A great kickstart to getting outdoors and embracing nature all around you. The verbs throughout this book are also fantastic opportunities to use as a spring-point for nature play (dance, fly, stomp, run, chase). Great for encouraging your child to adventure, explore and ‘be wild’.

By the Billabong by Maura Finn & Cate James

This book gives me Aussie ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt Vibes’. A girl goes for a walk by the billabong to see what she can see. She comes across many Australian animals having a lot of fun (like a mob of emus’ ballet class!). Light-hearted and rhythmic, this book is great to go for a walk around your local area and see what you can see. This could even turn into a fun animal spotting expedition and nature rhyming activity

Wombat Stew by Marcia Vaughan

You really can’t think about books to inspire outdoor play without including this ultimate classic! You definitely don’t need a mud kitchen to start making your own stew outside; some spoons, cups and a forage in nature will provide everything you need!

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Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson

This book is so engaging and interactive, it really gets your children involved. Each page gives you an instruction to follow (for example, “blow a whooshing breeze” or “clap your hands to bring the snow”) and when you turn the page, a transformation has occurred. Great for exploring the seasons and inspiring your child to observe the changes around them outside as the seasons change.

Bush Magic by Kylie Howarth

Sometimes the weather is a bit too intense for an outdoor adventure. Make nature crowns, sail on water, visit animals on islands and make friends with new creatures. Throw on your raincoat and even gumboots and have a bush adventure inside! This book is a great reminder that you can bring nature indoors, with a bit of imagination. 

The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s Bug Hunt by Eric Carle

This has become a favourite read of ours. This life-the-flap book takes you through different places to look for bugs; up, under, inside, closely and looking after bugs. Learn about where you can find bugs, what they eat and what they do, with incredible adjectives throughout to enhance your child’s vocabulary. This book inspires you to get out and go on your very own bug hunt!

Toddler Book Reviews Nature

Slow Down… On Your Doorstep by Freya Hartas

A fantastic read to show your little ones the importance of slowing down and noticing the natural wonders around them. It is rhyming and poetic, from a bee pollinating a flower to noticing the dew on the leaves. This book inspires your children to use their senses and engage in mindfulness in nature.

Kids Nature Inspired Books

The ABC Kids Guide to Loving the Planet by Jaclyn Crupi

This picture book is a great introduction for kids about sustainability and looking after our planet. It empowers children and lets them know a variety of ways that they can take part in looking after our world and protecting it for future generations. From cooling down without air con, saving water and energy, planting trees and writing letters. This book is a one stop shop for getting kids involved in caring for their world. The illustrations are also gorgeous and it’s easy to open up and start with an idea or two at a time; pick an idea and this book will help you to get out into nature and make a difference (e.g. make an insect hotel).

Follow Nat for more recommendations: @the.teacher.mumma

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