My 8 year old son loves watching nature shows on television, especially the ones with survival tips. So, although my own interest in nature is more one of visual appreciation, I want to use his curiosity to develop more understanding of the world around us. Books are a great way to do that, along with observation and applying what we learn.
If you have a young learner who enjoys picture books, check out Raven, Rabbit, Deer by Sue Farrell Holler, (Illustrated by Telling Tales presenter, Jennifer Faria) which follows a nature walk with a young boy and his Grandfather. It teaches kids to use their senses to examine things they see around them like tracks and animals. My personal favourite is that it introduces words of various animals in the Ojibwemowin language. (Bonus – it comes with a pronunciation guide for those of us unfamiliar with how the language sounds.)
Whether you read aloud or let your child dive in on their own, the story of Les Stroud (aka Survivorman) in his book Wild Outside with his experiences all over the world will totally capture their attention. I love that this book is divided into different sections like prepare, observe, react, and adapt which are all walked through with examples from his life. Pictures and tips scatter throughout, inspiring so many discussions and ideas for active minds. In fact, prepare yourself for the inevitable survival kit creation! One amazing thing for my son is that Les is Canadian and started his own world adventures right in the city he grew up in.
For kids who live in the city, nature study can seem foreign or impossible. If that’s you, check out Chasing Bats and Tracking Rats by Cylita Guy for an exciting dive into urban ecology. With a mixture of storytelling and scientific explanation, this book will send your family out on a challenge in your community to do things like search for bats, test animal flight zones, discover likely rat habitats, and more.
Just be aware that once the interest in nature moves from the page or the screen to real life, you might not be indoors again any time soon.Toss these books in your backpack along with your survival kit, water, and a snack then head out and find your next adventure.
Watch these and other Nature Tales presentations on demand.
Lisa Marie Fletcher is a homeschooling mom of 5 kids ranging from preschool to high school. When her homeschooling journey began, she searched for Canadian homeschooling resources and started to share them online. That was the beginning of The Canadian Homeschooler – whose mission today is to connect homeschoolers across Canada with each other and with resources to help them on their journey.