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We have several resources on our A-Z Index for you to check out including our updated Parks Directory, outdoor activities and even some book recommendations below for you and your kids. Enjoy!
Try These Parks for a Nature Hike (click here for our comprehensive Parks Directory)
Recommended Books for Your Kids
- "Planting a Rainbow" by Lois Ehlert. Red Wagon Books, Harcourt, 1988. This board book is a great introduction for babies and toddlers to the joys of planting bulbs in the fall, seeds in the spring and a rainbow of color after growing season.
- "Forest Bright, Forest Night" by Jennifer Ward, illustrated by Jamichael Henterly. Dawn Publications, 2007. This board book serves as an introduction to different forest animals who are active in the day or night as well as a counting book. Our kindergartener loved it! Hidden numbers on the pages and lots to look at!
- "One Small Place In a Tree" by Barbara Brenner, illustrated by Tom Leonard. HarperCollins Publishers, 2004. This is a perfect book for preschoolers and elementary age children. A boy notices a hole in a tree and learns how many different animals use that hole for a home over the years. The information is fascinating, and the illustrations are true to life.
- "Leaf Man" by Lois Ehlert. Harcourt, Inc. 2005. For ages 4 – 8. Where does a Leaf Man go when the wind blows? Do you know? So begins this book that has fabulous illustrations of leaves and a simple storyline suitable for beginning readers to try reading themselves. You won't believe all the figures made out of different leaves!
- "How To Hide A Butterfly & Other Insects" by Ruth Heller. Grosset and Dunlap, 1985. This is a fun book for the preschool and elementary age crowd because it shows how insects can camouflage themselves in nature. Your child has to find them in a nature scene and the text explains why and how. A favorite for our kindergartner!
- "A Fawn in the Grass" by Joanne Ryder, illustrated by Keiko Narahashi. Henry Holt and Company, 2001. This beautifully illustrated book has a simple blend of poetry and science as a small child discovers a variety of surprises on a walk through the grass. Emerging readers can practice their skills on the words.
Recommended Books For You
- "I Love Dirt: 52 Activities To Help You & Your Kids Discover the Wonders of Nature" by Jennifer Ward, illustrated by Susie Ghahremani. Trumpeter Books, 2008. The author starts out by saying "There's nothing more joyful and inspiring to watch than children discovering the world around them." In five minutes, you can take one of her 52 activities (divided by season) and turn your kids onto the world around them.
- "Last Child In the Woods: Saving Our Kids from Nature Deficit Disorder" by Richard Louv. Chapel Hill: Algonquin Books, 2006. The latest research demonstrates that when children have hands-on experiences with nature, even if it is simply in the weed lot at the end of the street, they reap the benefits. Researchers cite diminished levels of ADHD, fewer incidents of anxiety and depression, improved self-esteem, enhanced brain development, higher levels of curiosity and creativity and a sense of connectedness to the community and the environment.
- "A Child's Garden: 60 Ideas to Make Any Garden Come Alive for Children" by Molly Dannenmaier. Timber Press, 2008. This book has amazing photographs of different garden environments, and my 5-year-old exclaimed in delight over many of them. The text is for grown-ups, and most of the gardens are well beyond my capability, but the ideas are fun to ponder and see up close.
- "Treehouses & Playhouses You Can Build" by David and Jeanie Stiles. Gibbs Smith, 2006. If you have a handy person or (even better) a carpenter in your family, you have everything you need to plan and construct a fabulous treehouse from this book that includes drawn up plans! And even if you can't add a treehouse to your landscape, the pictures are fun and inspire the imagination.
Submitted by Springfield Moms staffer Julie Kaiser.