We know our kids need nature, and these books make that even clearer. From inspiring parenting stories to hiking guides and science-backed studies on nature play, these books will encourage you to embrace the elements with your kids.

 

There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather

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Swedish journalist Linda McGurk noticed something weird when she moved from Sweden to America: There were no children playing outside in the colder months. She was inspired to write this book to share the benefits of the Scandinavian friluftsliv tradition of embracing the outdoors in all weather. In her engaging book, which is a blend of memoir and research, the premise is clear: Get your kids outside, no matter the obstacles, no matter the complaints and no matter the weather. Though that may seem like an oversimplification, she also offers such a valuable reminder of the benefits of being connected to nature. If you need some inspiration to get your kids outside, you’ll be so glad you picked this one up.

  

Hikes for Families: A Guide to the Canadian Rockies

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In a practical sense, this family-friendly hiking guide offers helpful info on kid-friendly hikes in Banff, Canmore, Kananaskis, Bragg Creek and Calgary. Having all the necessary info before heading out on an adventure with kids makes everything easier (which is always a welcome feature for busy parents).

But this guide also offers something even better: Inspiration for people who want to continue their adventurous lifestyle after kids join their family. I love the idea behind this book, that having kids is just the beginning of even more amazing adventures to come. You’ll also get some tips for enjoying the trails with your kids, games to play along the way and gear packing lists.

  

Balanced and Barefoot

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Thanks in large part to the pandemic, there’s been an uptick in screen time for kids which is compounded by hours of online learning. This important book by pediatric occupational therapist Angela Hanscom is what we all need right now.

In this book, you’ll learn why unstructured free play in nature is so important for kids. You’ll also learn the research and science behind seemingly silly kid behaviours, like why kids need to spin in circles, go upside down and jump off things, for example. This book is almost guaranteed to convince you that risky outdoor play is vital for kids’ development and inspire you to make it a centre of your family’s culture.

 

Foraging with Kids: 52 Wild and Free Edibles to Enjoy With Your Children

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Ask the average kid where their food comes from, and they are likely to answer, “the grocery store.” Or maybe they know a bit about gardening and farming. But chances are, they are less likely to say, “the forest.” After you read Foraging with Kids together, that’s going to change.

Not only does this book offer helpful foraging tips and recipes for how to prepare wild foods, it focuses on what’s accessible. The projects are based around plants that are common in parks and forests around the world.

  

Survivor Kid: A Practical Guide to Wilderness Survival

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If you’re a nature-loving family, odds are you are often out hiking, camping or exploring. This guide, written by a search and rescue professional and lifelong camper, will arm you and your kids with the knowledge you need to survive outdoors. The guide includes things like how to build shelters and fires, signal for help, find water and food, deal with dangerous animals and how to navigate.

If your kids are ever separated from the group on a hike or camping trip, you’ll have more peace of mind knowing they have some basic survival skills. Even if you’re not concerned about wilderness survival, this book offers some fun projects you can do with your kids outdoors, like building a simple brush shelter or using a reflective surface to start a fire.

  

  

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