Episode 178

Springtime has finally arrived here in Ohio. And with it, thoughts of spending more time outdoors. The arrival of a new season has inspired me to share some beautiful books to connect kids to nature so that you can explore the natural world in your neck of the woods.

The change of seasons is always a great time to think about weaving nature into our homeschool lessons and homeschool days.

Even though my kiddos are now grown and flown, my stack of beautiful nature books has continued to grow!

And this episode of the Art of Homeschooling Podcast is a preview of some of my favorites.

Here in the show notes, you’ll find my list of beautiful books that connect kids to nature with links and a few suggested resources.

So listen along and bookmark this page for seasons to come!

Beautiful Books That Connect Kids to Nature

These beautiful nature books bring back so many memories!

When my boys were little, spending time outdoors in nature was at the top of my list of what to do when all seemed lost.

I literally had a list with that title taped to the inside of a kitchen cabinet.

And on days when my well-planned lessons were falling apart, we’d head out to the yard. Giving them that time to dig in the mud pit or climb the pine tree behind the garage saved my sanity so many times.

When I could grab binoculars or a nature book on the way out the door, all the better. After some play and movement, we would read on a blanket in the sunshine with either a dog or a bunny by our side.

There are so many benefits of getting outdoors with our kiddos and exploring nature. Here are a few according to Harvard Health:

  • Sunshine
  • Exercise
  • Executive function
  • Taking risks
  • Appreciation of nature

Ok, now on to my favorite books that connect kids to nature! They’re grouped by season, plus a large selection for all year round!

I’ve used affiliate links in this post which means that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission from products you purchase via my referral links. You can read my full disclosure policy here.


Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots by Sharon Lovejoy is an all-time favorite activity book for gardening, from growing a sunflower house to a pizza garden. It’s a wonderful addition to your natural parenting and homeschooling library.

More Spring Activity Books

My favorite spring read-aloud for younger children is The Gardener by Sarah Stewart. It’s about a young girl who goes to live with an uncle during the Depression. The illustrations are glorious and all ages will enjoy this sweet story.

I love this book so much that my friend and homeschool colleague, Alison, and I created a Book Hearth literature guide for planning a month-long main lesson using The Gardener.

For older children, Echo Mountain by Lauren Wolk is a moving story of family and resilience. Not to be missed!

You’ll also find an inspiring Book Hearth Guide for Echo Mountain.

And finally, I’ll mention The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett for another wonderful spring read-aloud.


My favorite activity book for this season is Summer Nature Activities for Children by Irmgard Kutsch & Brigitte Walden. The ideas in the book are lovely and nourishing, from growing herbs and breeding butterflies.

There’s actually one of these books for each season of the year and I recommend you get them all!

The summer read-aloud I recommend is the classic Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome. It’s a story that tells of a summer of fun for a group of children who camp out on an island. They have all kinds of adventures together without their adults.


Here’s Autumn Nature Activities for Children by Kutsch & Walden with songs and stories, recipes, and activities such as basket weaving and paper making with clear photos and instructions.

My favorite fall read-aloud is Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert. It’s so magical, celebrating colorful leaves, the wind, and imagination all at once.

And really for all ages, check out Heartwood Hotel: A True Home by Kallie George.

The Heartwood Hotel is a series of four books, one for each season. The first book, A True Home has a fall focus. Mona the mouse is such a sweet character and she finds a home in the hollow of a tree at a grand hotel in Fernwood Forest where so many delightful characters come and go.

We have a Heartwood Hotel: A True Home Book Hearth Guide to go with this book so you can create a whole month of learning experiences for your whole family.


If you live where it gets cold in the winter like we do, it can be more difficult to get outdoors in the winter. But I really try to live by the adage, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear.” Just bundle everyone up to get outdoors.

The Winter Activities for Children by Irmgard Kutsch & Brigitte Walden can really be inspiring with wonderful hands-on activities like weaving and woodworking.

My favorite winter read-aloud for families is Owl Moon by Jane Yolen. This book is full of the magic of night and quiet anticipation as well as the bond between parent and child. And of course the beauty of the natural world.

More Winter Read Alouds


This is a family favorite full of songs, verses, poems, riddles, fingerplays, games, creative drama and movement, watercolor painting, handcrafts, and healthy recipes that help inspire gratitude for life and rekindle a sense of wonder.

I love that this book has simple activities for children as young as two years old. So many handwork projects and little crafts for all ages through the seasons.

There is a series of One Small Square books. We loved this one focused on nature in your backyard and my kids each had a little square section off in our backyard one spring. Each book in the series includes observational activities as well as a field guide. Beautifully illustrated. Recommended for ages 6-9, but we used these books for years beyond that.

A beautifully illustrated book of the sights and sounds of nature from meadow to city streets to remind us all that the natural world is just outside our homes waiting to be explored. Recommended for children ages 3-8.

Features 33 different trees that grow in North America, answering questions collected from the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. Recommended for ages 4-10 but really great for all ages.

This book is one of our all-time favorite nature books that we used for years in our homeschool. I think I’d checked out this book from the library at least six times before I finally purchased our own copy. This is a classic reference book for all things about the natural world, full of a treasure trove of information about everything from squirrels to dandelions, mice to milkweed with fascinating details and thoughtful questions.

Other favorites:

More Nature Inspiration to Explore

To add depth to your exploration of nature with your kiddos, you might also like these podcast episodes from the Art of Homeschooling archives:

Nature study is an essential element of holistic homeschooling, along with the lively arts, knowledge of child development, and a nourishing rhythm. And the Taproot Teacher Training is an immersive experience for homeschooling parents with a desire to find their homeschooling flow, to prepare for teaching creatively, and to connect with others on the journey. All while spending time in nature at a beautiful summer camp.

Taproot is held in person every summer in northeastern Ohio. It’s part homeschool training, part summer camp, and part personal retreat. Come spend 4 days in nature with other heart-centered homeschoolers and mentors and tap into your creative homeschooling flow!

And most of all, enjoy every minute adventuring with your little ones! They grow so fast!

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    1. My son recently checked out “Sun in My Tummy” by Laura Alary at our library and all my kids really attached to it! We read it repeatedly and they talked about it quite a bit over their morning oatmeal. 🙂

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