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Books for Inspiring Nature-Based Learning

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Children are spending more and more time with tablets, televisions, and overly structured routines—perhaps even more time recently due to the pandemic. However, recent research has drawn the link between children’s brain development and time spent in the natural environment. In fact, spending time in nature has proven to benefit children in many ways—physically, cognitively, social-emotionally, and spiritually. But how can we practically implement nature into our early childhood curriculum and pedagogy? In this list, you will find resources that guide you in doing just that, from start to finish, through hands-on activities in the outdoors to open-ended learning experiences with nature.



Preschool Beyond Walls

Blending Early Childhood Education and Nature-Based Learning

Preschool Beyond Walls shows practical and strategic ways educators can create rich, explorative, and interdisciplinary learning through extensive outdoor experiences. Learn how to develop a nature-centered curriculum and infuse nature into all aspects of your program by emphasizing inquiry-based learning and hands-on discovery.

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Seasons of Play

Natural Environments of Wonder

This book will encourage child-care professionals and early childhood educators by demonstrating that outdoor play and learning ARE possible in all seasons of the year! In Seasons of Play, Rusty Keeler takes readers on a photographic journey through real child care centers who are rejecting cookie-cutter care environments and embracing natural play spaces with limitless opportunities for the child’s imagination.

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Learning Is in Bloom

Cultivating Outdoor Explorations

In Learning Is in Bloom, teachers and caregivers will find 40 hands-on activities effective in engaging young children in investigating nature, both indoors and outdoors, on the school grounds, and on excursions around the neighborhood. This book will demonstrate how to foster children’s holistic development by supportating child-directed explorations in science, math, art, and literacy within a nature-rich setting.

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Let’s Take It Outside!

Teacher-Created Activities for Outdoor Learning

With more than 100 teacher-created, classroom-tested outdoor activities, Let’s Take It Outside! engages children’s minds and bodies as they explore the limitless bounds of the outdoors while also building key skills in areas like math, literacy and language, science, art, and music.

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Little Walks, Big Adventures

50+ Ideas for Exploring with Toddlers

This book champion’s the idea that, to infants and toddlers where everything is new, everything is also a learning moment. Little Walks, Big Adventures, parents and caregivers will find 50+ great ideas for taking toddlers on adventurous local explorations that promote and enhance learning in the areas of vocabulary, language skills, cognitive skills, motor skills, and more! 

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Bringing The Outside In

Ideas for Creating Nature-Based Classroom Experiences for Young Children

This book offers hands-on, open-ended, and sensory oriented experiences that are designed to spark discovery and imagination; encourage conversations and collaborations; allow young children to develop a sense of wonder and get to know the natural world inch-by-inch and bit-by-bit; and preserve the joys of childhood.

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Science Adventures

Nature Activities for Young Children

With more than 125 activities, Science Adventures opens up a world of exploration through nature activities in urban, suburban, or rural settings. Each chapter focuses on one of the kindergarten science standards set by the National Academy of Sciences, and makes it developmentally appropriate and fun for preschool children!

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