5 books to encourage outdoor parenting and kids' connection to nature

5 books to encourage outdoor parenting and kids’ connection to nature

The article may contain affiliate links.

Our culture is in a place… in which it is. And we’re already conscious of many drawbacks of how we live today, where technologies and cultural changes have brought us. Cell phones are great tools to call for an ambulance or to keep contact with family members who live far from us, even with videos, which two decades ago was only a phantasie from a movie or fiction books.

But we’re aware of the addictiveness of screens, the environmental damage caused by consumerism, we observe obesity, depression, destruction of families and other social relations.

The changes were very fast but fortunately, we’ve got the awareness of problems fast, too. Now, it’s our turn, it’s our choice what we will do with the knowledge.

One important step is to reconnect with nature and to show the importance of being outdoors to our kids who will build the future world, the future societies, families, farms or cities.

I’ve encouraged you to do so in the article Nature-bathing. I’m taking you on a trip near your place of living. It was the moment when I thought of giving you here titles of the best books on subjects like wild kids and connecting kids with nature.

1 | Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods

Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder

In an agricultural society, or during a time of exploration and settlement, or hunting and fathering–which is to say, most of mankind’s history–energetic boys were particularly prized for their strength, speed, and agility. […] As recently as the 1950s, most families still had some kind of agricultural connection. Many of these children, girls as well as boys, would have been directing their energy and physicality in constructive ways: doing farm chores, baling hay, splashing in the swimming hole, climbing trees, racing to the sandlot for a game of baseball. Their unregimented play would have been steeped in nature.

In his book, Richard Louv describes how much today’s kids are divided from the big outdoors and nature. The author shows also which diseases and other problems of young people are caused by what he calls nature-deficit. He explains how direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development and for the physical and emotional health of children and adults. His arguments are backed by research and science.

The new edition of the book includes also practical guidelines on how to start changes in your family and encourage kids to get outside.

Perfect book to get aware of the problem of nature deficit, helpful also for activists whether you want to change something in your neighborhood, school or even state.

In our bones we need the natural curves of hills, the scent of chapparal, the whisper of pines, the possibility of wildness. We require these patches of nature for our mental health and our spiritual resilience.

Buy on Amazon

2 | Scott D. Sampson, How to Raise a Wild Child

The Art and Science of Falling in Love with Nature

Nature isn’t just a bunch of far-off plants, animals, and landscapes to learn about and visit once or twice a year. It’s an environment to be immersed in daily, especially during our childhood years.

This book presents both whys and hows of the necessity of our contact with nature. The author gives suggestions on how to introduce people of different age to nature: preschoolers, students and adolescents.

Scott D. Sampson shows us that raising kids in connection with nature helps not only their bodies but makes them also stronger people: more independent and self-reliant.

What I especially like in the book is the brilliant observation that to make kids love outdoors, there have to be outdoors-loving parents. This book teaches adults how to be nature mentors for our kids.

In traditional playspaces constructed of metal and plastic, decisions about what to play are made by the designers. […] Too often, the result is competition, with kids arguing over who gets to do what, followed by frustration and tears. Conversely, in natural play areas, the child is boss. Imaginations are fired up as kids invent games with the available loose parts. Studies show that interactions tend to be more cooperative as well. Bullying is greatly decreased, and both vandalism and aggressive behavior also go down if there is a tree canopy. And with greater engagement comes longer play intervals, about three times longer compared with old-style play equipment.

Buy on Amazon

3 | Linda Åkeson McGurk, There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather

A Scandinavian Mom’s Secrets for Raising Healthy, Resilient, and Confident Kids

This book consist of reasearch and personal stories of the author, born and raised in Scandinavia, then raising her kids in America.

This inspirational book is suggesting to loosen up the parenting style based on planning, controlling, keeping kids clean indoors, staring at screens or taking part in activities urged by parents.

The author offers solutions based on the outdoorsy Scandinavian parenting culture, the open-air life.

Buy on Amazon

4 | Brian Meier, The Adventure-Driven Life: Awaken the Bear

How spending time in nature boosts mental acuity, promotes health and wellness, encourages creativity, and invites contentment

This book tells about the wild, primal and adventurous side of ourselves, about the ways how nature affects us and how connection with the wilderness can make us strong.

Buy on Amazon

5 | Peter Houghton, Play the Forest School Way: Woodland Games

Crafts and Skills for Adventurous Kids

This is a practical book, consisting of specific, well-described and illustrated activities for toddlers and primary school kids to play in the woods. The kids will learn how to make jewellery from what they can find in forest, but also more serious things like building a shelter or foraging for food.

There are ideas for single kids and small groups. Activities show us the connection between doing work in natural surroundings and developing our social skills, building relations. Learning benefits of every activity are well explained.

I encourage you to read the Kindle sample of the book on Amazon, it tells a lot! (switch from paperback to Kindle format and click on the cover)

Buy on Amazon

Related content:


If you like my writing, subscribe to the weekly newsletter.

If you are interested in growing in different areas of life, check the Bundles.