Have you ever read a book that makes you want to go on an adventure? I’m sure you have. Maybe you wanted to hop over to England after reading Harry Potter, wander around Italy after reading Eat, Pray, Love or explore the Pacific Crest Trail after finishing Wild.
But have you ever stopped to think about the idea that children’s books can do the same thing to your kids?
After reading Ladybug Girl (more on that in a second) with my littlest, she suddenly got very into ladybugs. She wanted to go everywhere in her ladybug rain boots—and, sometimes, the matching rain jacket and umbrella (no matter what the weather). She wanted to stomp in the biggest puddles and conquer the world one polka-dotted step at a time.
It got me thinking about other books we’ve read that inspire outdoor adventures…
7 Kids Books About Outdoor Adventures
Ladybug Girl by David Soman and Jackie Davis
When Lulu dresses up in her lady bug costume, she becomes a superhero—and one who is definitely not too little, even though her brother says that’s why she can’t play with him and his friends.
Instead, she goes on creative adventures around her backyard with her dog Bingo. Ladybug Girl moves a rock to save some ants, fixes part of a crumbly stone wall, climbs a tree and more.
This sweet story of creativity and individuality is accompanied by really pretty, bright watercolor illustrations.
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury
This is a book that quickly becomes a favorite—I’m pretty sure we’ve read it hundreds of times before.
The rhythmic, repetitive writing and onomatopoeia (words that imitate sounds for those of you who aren’t English nerds) make this a story even the littlest listeners can really get into and feel a part of. It doesn’t take long for kids to start chiming in or yelling out the sounds (like the “squelch squerch!” of the mud or the “swishy swashy” of the tall grass). It’s a classic in our house.
My Garden by Kevin Henkes
If you have any budding gardeners in your family, they will love this book.
It’s about a little girl who helps out in her mother’s garden, but who daydreams about how things would be different if it were her garden.
The girl imagines things like chocolate rabbits, flowers that change color just because she thinks about it, and strawberries that glow like lanterns at night.
I love asking my kids how their garden would be different after we read it.
This Moose Belongs to Me by Oliver Jeffers
First of all, I love Oliver Jeffers (he’s the guy behind The Day the Crayons Quit). The Crayons stories are silly and fun and the illustrations add so much to the story.
This book doesn’t disappoint.
Wilfred, a boy who is very big on rules, has a long list of them for his pet moose, Marcel. Only Marcel isn’t so great at following them. While on a long walk in the wilderness, Wilfred realizes Marcel might not be his pet after all.
In the end, the straight-laced boy and his wild and free moose come to a funny little compromise.
The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
Another classic, this book also uses repetition and rhyming as a way to really suck kids in.
A smart little mouse (who knows he’s good enough to eat) tricks all of the other animals in the forest into leaving him alone by inventing a scary creature that none of the other animals want anything to do with. This creature, the gruffalo, keeps mouse safe until the mouse meets him in the deep dark wood and has to come up with a new plan to save himself.
Kids love being in on the mouse’s secret from the beginning to the end of the book.
Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
I won’t lie to you. The simple line drawings in this Caldecott Honor winner kept me from giving this one a real chance for far too long. I’m usually drawn to bright, colorful drawings and this book is just black and white (or blue and white in the case of the edition we read).
But the story is so sweet!
It’s about a little girl who goes blueberry picking with her mom and gets all mixed up with a baby bear who goes blueberry picking with his mom. The mix up is unexpected and keeps little ones on the edge of their seats as they wait to see what happens.
The Curious Garden by Peter Brown
This story is especially fun for city kids. It’s about a little boy named Liam who lived in a dreary city with no greenery. Most people stayed indoors, but Liam liked to explore. One day he found a tiny patch of plants growing on top of an old, abandoned railway. He immediately decided to be its gardener.
With love and affection, Liam turns that tiny little patch into something that takes over the entire city. I love that it shows kids how the actions of one little boy changed an entire city.