Book Love: Nature Explorations

April 30, 2012

Nature BooksWe are getting an early spring this year, which is making me excited about all of the outdoor adventures to come. The lovely weather has also started my wheels turning as I begin think ahead to Camp Mom, which is quickly approaching on the horizon. So, over the last couple of weeks I have checked out numerous nature/science activity books and have also pulled out some of my old favorites to get the juices flowing. I am filling them up with sticky notes and writing down ideas, so that as the girls spend more time outside, I am am at the ready to to take their interests to the next level with some engaging hands-on learning experiences. We look forward to sharing our nature explorations with you throughout the season…

I am off, I just heard word of a butterfly sighting!

Reading OutsideBooks to Inspire…

  1. Let’s Go Outside! and I Love Dirt! by Jennifer Ward
  2. Sharing Nature with Children I & II by Joseph Cornell
  3. Nature Connection by Clare Walker Leslie
  4. Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature by Jon Young, Ellen Haas & Evan McGown
  5. Nature’s Art Box by Laura C. Martin
  6. Hands-On Nature by Jenepher Lingelbach
  7. The Jumbo Book of Outdoor Art by Irene Luxbacher
  8. Nature’s Playground by Fiona Danks & Jo Schofield

What are your favorites?


Mariah Bruehl is a parent, educator, and author of the book Playful Learning: Develop Your Child’s Sense of Joy and Wonder (Shambhala Publications, 2011). In 2008 Mariah brought her expertise online, creating the Parents’ Choice Gold Medal award-winning Web site Playful Learning. In 2011 she launched the Playful Learning Ecademy, which takes virtual-learning experiences to a new level by incorporating the best practices in education with engaging hands-on lessons, bringing parents and children together from all over the world into a unique, creative, community environment.


  1. Sarah said on April 30, 2012 #

    Oh, it’s so good to have you back!  I’ve been thinking a lot about Camp Mom as well. These are great book suggestions!  Nothing makes me me more excited than new experiences to do with my girls.  Thanks, Mariah. 

    • mariah said on April 30, 2012 #

      Hi Sarah – Thank you, it is so good to be back. I really missed this space… Yes, Camp Mom… lots of potential!

  2. Kelly said on April 30, 2012 #

    Great to see you back, your new site looks great. Your posts always inspire me in so many ways, thank you!! Just out of curiosity, what is Camp Mom?

    • mariah said on April 30, 2012 #

      Hi Kelly – Thank you so much for your kind words… I don’t sign my girls up for summer camp, so when people ask me about what they are doing over the summer I lovingly (jokingly) respond that they are going to “Camp Mom.” This summer will be the first in a couple of years that we have wide-open, so I am starting to think now about fun and enriching experiences we can share. We are all really looking forward to it!

      • Kelly said on April 30, 2012 #

        Love it!  I thought that may be what you meant by Camp Mom.  

  3. Kayte said on April 30, 2012 #

    We recently added the Nature Connection book to our collection and LOVE it. I would also recommend Rebecca Cohen’s 15 Minutes Outside. It is full of ideas for getting outside in the middle of winter too! (which is where I sometimes find it tough to be motivated to leave the couch in front of the fireplace) We also have her Curiosity Cards – laminated cards on a ring to initiate great conversation outside. A motivated momma could certainly make their own version, but they were a lovely gift from a friend. One day I will add the Coyote’s Guide to our stash- the sticker price always deters me. I keep hoping to find a copy at our fabulous local used book chain. Great to see your new site Mariah and I am anxious to more involved in the ecademy site as well. (life as kept me from the computer for a while!) 

    • mariah said on April 30, 2012 #

      Hi Kayte – Nice to “see” you! I think you are the one that introduced me to the Nature Connection… I can’t wait to check out the Curiosity Cards. You always have so many great ideas and resources… Thanks for stopping by.

  4. ~ joey ~ said on April 30, 2012 #

    Hello Mariah!
    So nice to see you in this brand new space! Love your Camp Mom idea I suppose that’s what we do too so I’m going to have to call it that now! It would be be to design t-shirts don’t you think?!
    Recently I have been sorting through my materials (that are currently sorted by subject) hoping to come up with some fun new ideas for summer. I’ll be visiting here often for continued inspiration!
    Thanks so much!
    ~ joey ~

    • Kayte said on April 30, 2012 #

      LOVE the tshirt idea! 

      • mariah said on April 30, 2012 #

        Me too! Joey may be on to something…

  5. Stacey said on April 30, 2012 #

    What a wonderful collection of titles, each new to me! I have yet to be brave enough to send my girls to Camp Mom :) They are already registered elsewhere but maybe next year… I think it would be such a great experience. 

    • mariah said on April 30, 2012 #

      Hi Stacey! In all reality everyday is Camp Mom day… I hope all is well.

  6. Cerys @ Rainy Day Num said on May 4, 2012 #

    What a great selection of books for connecting kids with nature thank you for sharing and I’m adding them to my wish list.

  7. Zoe said on May 4, 2012 #

    Stacey (above) alerted me to this post, and what a great collection of books it is. I particularly like the look of nature’s art box. As it happens, I’ve posted twice this week about books to which have helped me and my family get outdoors and exploring – a mixture of fiction and nonfiction:

    • mariah said on May 4, 2012 #

      Hi Zoe – It is so nice to “meet” you! I love your links and your blog. Let’s stay in touch…

  8. [...] nature to explore as much as you can in all areas –  math, science, reading, and writing. Playful Learning has ten fantastic book suggestions, my Outside Play and Learn Pinterest board has a gazillion ideas, and Mommy Labs shares 50+ ideas [...]

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