The Best Outdoorsy Picture Books for Kids

mother reading picture book to a child

Books are a gorgeous gateway to connect children with any topic and that sure goes for connecting with nature and adventures. These books contain themes of wonder and curiosity at the natural world and its beauty, shared love of adventure and moving our bodies outside. Some focus on hiking and camping, others on learning about flora and fauna. The illustrations are beautiful and even as an adult I enjoyed these and learned a lot. Please enjoy, my favorite outdoorsy picture books for kids.

Side note: I am a huge supporter of finding these books at the library or used book stores if you can. Small bookstores are of course lovely. I know those methods aren’t always possible so I’ve included Amazon links for your convenience.

P.S. My two favorites are Yes, Let’s and The Golden Glow. Hope you put them on hold at your local library soon 😉

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When the Wind Stops

By Charlotte Zolotow

When the Wind Stops is the story of a mother teaching her son, in response to his curiosity, that everything is connected. Nothing ends, it just begins in a new way or in a new place. The day ends so the night can begin. Summer ends so autumn can begin. And so on and so on. I love the message, the artwork is beautiful and more abstract and the story has flow. Highly recommend.

Golden Glow

By Benjamin Flouw

Golden Glow is the story of a fox who loves botany. He reads about a special flower that only grows onthe mountain top. He heads on an adventure to find it and add it to his collection. It’s a long journey, but with the help of some other animal friends, he manages to find one. Right as he’s about to pick it, he realizes its more beautiful on the mountain top than it ever would be at his home, so he leaves it, draws it instead, and adds the picture to his botany book. The book includes some plant identifications and packing details. The artwork is beautiful and the flow of the story is very pleasant. Highly recommend

Yes, Let’s

By Galen Goodwin Longstreth

This is one of my personal favorite books. It rhymes, as most of my faves do, and it follows a family going on a hike to play at a river together. The pictures tell even more of the story than the words which makes it fun to read over and over. The vibe of the family is both realistic and dream-worthy. Highly recommend

When We Go Camping

By Margaret Ruhrs

This book peacefully moves you through a camping trip with two kids and their experience noticing the natural world around them. The illustrations are beautiful and there is a tiny find it element which my kids love.

The Hike

By Alison Farrell

Three sisters head on a hike together to summit a mountain peak. Along the way there are lots of plant and animal identifications, sisters working together, and different personalities enjoying the woods in their way.

Sally Jean, the Bicycle Queen

By Carl Best

This one is less nature and more movement outside. It’s a heartwarming story of a girl on a mission to learn to ride a bicycle and it ends with a great bit of kindness and charity.

Over and Under the Pond

By Kate Messner

A peaceful look at the intricate goings on of a pond in a way that kept us all interested! Also try Over and Under the Snow, Canyon, Waves, Rainforest, and Wetland.

Rocket Says Look Up!

By Nathan Byron

This is the story of a girl inspired by an upcoming meteor shower. Even I learned some astronomy in this one! And the end is heartwarming too.

River

Elisha Cooper

This one is long and best for the years after toddlerhood. It’s the story of a mom heading out on her own solo canoe journey.

The Raft

By Jim LaMarche

A boy finds a raft and falls in love with the river and his adventures one summer. Really love this one.

Here We Are

By Oliver Jeffers

This very popular book is a great introduction to the earth in a simple form with big meaning.

The Shaman’s Apprentice

By Lynne Cherry and Mark Plotkin

This book connects kids with the idea of plants as medicine and the people who knew it all first.

Nanny Mihi’s Medicine

By Melanie Drewery

Nanny Mihi teaches her grandchildren about native New Zealand plants that can be used as medicine while they have a cold. Nanny Mihi and the Bellbird is also worth a read as Nanny Mihi teaches her grandkids how to sing a song to a bellbird that it will continue singing to them each time it sees them.

More Fantastic Outdoorsy Picture Books

Winter Sleep by Sean Taylor

Finding Wild by Megan Wagner Lloyd

Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey

Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen

We are the Gardeners by Joanna Gaines

Run Wild by David Covell

The Not-So Great Outdoors by Madeline Kloepper

The Big Book of:

Peppa Pig and the Nature Walk

Mason Goes Mushrooming by Melany Kahn

Because of an Acorn by Lola Schaefer

A Walk in the Forest by Maria Dek

Summer Days and Nights by Wong Herbert Yee

Outside In by Deborah Underwood

Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney

A River by Marc Martin

Tiny Perfect Things by M.H. Clark and Madeline Kloepper


This is by no means an exhaustive list. There are so many amazing picture books out there and I’d love to hear your recommendations in the comments or on Instagram!

Ready to bring this reading to life? Check out my favorite U.S. National Parks for families with young children.

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