Spring is here, and with it the almost audible hum of energy that comes from children who have been cooped up inside too long. We all know the importance of limiting screen time, but did you know that letting a child experience nature can help alleviate anxiety, depression and attention disorders? The lure of laptops and tablets can make it hard to sell today’s children on the great outdoors. Sometimes they need a little help stimulating their imaginations. Here are seven books to do just that.
Little Owl’s Night, by Divya Srinivasan
This board book, for preschoolers and up, is a twist on the go-to-sleep bedtime story. It follows Little Owl and his animal friend’s nighttime activities as Little Owl wonders how the daytime could be any better. It not only provides a window into the nocturnal world, it can help ease nervous little one’s nighttime fears.
Take a walk outdoors with Henry as he looks and listens to the different kinds of wildlife he encounters. Designed for ages 4-8, this interactive book has die-cut flaps that introduce little viewers to plants and animals found on land and in water. What a fun way to explore as you take your own walk!
This is Max. He is an environmental menace. He uses too much electricity, plays the television too loud, doesn’t recycle and wastes paper—until one day he causes a power outage. Left with nothing to do, he learns how to make a difference, and help little readers learn to be “green” monsters themselves. Printed on recycled material, this book is for ages 4 and up.
Is the world doomed? For kids who have eco-anxiety from this generation’s heightened environmental awareness, readers age 9 and up can learn facts about how their choices nurture or hurt the environment, as well ideas and achievable goals that empower them to help.
Itty Bitty Betty takes readers on an educational journey to introduce them to the life of the honeybee, and how important they are to the environment. Intended for kids 5-8 years, the beautiful illustrations and engaging facts will keep kids delighted and give them a lot to think about.
Kids’ Outdoor Adventure Book: 448 Great Things to Do in Nature Before You Grow Up, by Globe Pequot Press
Geared toward readers 3rd grade and up with limited experience outdoors, this book is divided into sections for each season and includes checklists for progress. If you grew up making snow angels, mud pies, and catching fireflies, this book is a great resource for passing those activities on to your children. Activities include projects, recipes and outdoor games, with more than one activity for every day of the year.
This book is perfect for planning a overnight campout in the backyard, or the wilderness. It covers the basics of choosing where in the outdoors to build your tent, recipes and stories for the campfire and how to tell the temperature by counting the cricket chirps. Campers learn to keep a field journal, and how to pack out everything they brought in, so that they leave nature they way they found it. For ages 7 and up.
We tend to block off many of
our senses when we’re staring
at a screen. Nature time can literally
bring us to our senses.
~ Richard Louv, author, Last Child in the Woods.