Some of our favourite nature books │#Jobookchat

The glorious weather over the Bank Holiday weekend got me thinking about how we should make the most of our time outdoors with the children. As a family we have always been pretty good at getting outside, and we are lucky enough to have a lovely child friendly garden where the kids can run around safely and play with their outdoor toys.

Whenever we get out and about, whether it's a walk around the corner to the park or a little further afield, there are always questions. Although I wholeheartedly encourage the asking of questions, more often than not I don’t know the answer. If we’ve managed to escape the house and detached ourselves from the television, it seems a shame to then consult Google on my phone for an instant answer. Instead, I like to use books to look up things together, and to encourage further conversation.

I don’t necessarily have a list of my “top ten nature books”, it really depends on what your children are interested in and what will catch their attention, but I have grabbed a selection of our favourites off our shelves, which you can see below.

A selection of our favourite books about "nature"

I really like the “50 Things To Do Before You’re 11 3/4” idea fronted by the National Trust. Anything to get children out of the house, away from screens, learning new things, and getting active has to be a good thing. There now seems to be a number of books associated with the scheme, which you can find here, but you don’t need to buy the book to get involved. Click here to find the list and all the details online. 

My parents bought us the copy of “Usbourne Spotter’s Guides: Butterflies” after we cared for our own butterflies at home last summer. We took the spotter's guide with us on walks by the canal (where we tended to see a lot of butterflies) so we could try and identify any butterflies we saw. It was a great activity to keep the children interested in our surroundings on the walks, and a little less tedious for me than 562 games of "I Spy". 

When we visited Stowe Gardens last year my daughter was asking about different types of trees and why they had different leaves, why some were smaller, and others different colours. I know very little (ahem, nothing)) about identifying trees so thought my best option was to pick up a book! I actually found it quite difficult to find a book on trees that was suitable for her age group but this one is excellent. First Book of Trees by Derek Niemann has some lovely clear illustrations, and minimal but informative text. Just the right level for my preschoolers.

First Book of Trees by Derek Niemann

I’m sure I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again, but I just love the Collins i-SPY books. I don’t know if it’s because I had them as a child (two of them are in the selection above) but I think they are great. I bought the copy of "i-SPY Nature" before a glamping trip and it cost £2.99. It can be chucked into a bag or pocket and easily looked at as we walk around somewhere.

Do you use any reference books with your youngsters? Or do you prefer to stick to story books which are around the "theme" you've been talking about at home?