KHN Suggested Resources

Current research

Plenty of current research documents the social, emotional, behavioral, physical and cognitive benefits for children of nature-based play and time in nature. In 2018 PEER Associates produced  Nature Play Literature Review so this research is gathered in one document, summarized and easily accessible.

Children’s Books

There are lots of great children’s books that really convey the spirit of outdoor nature play. Many authors also do a great job of presenting nature topics in a way that is developmentally appropriate for young children. These books include subjects that are familiar to children and that allow them to find “animal allies.” Some of our favorite books for young children include:

For Winter

Night Tree by Eve Bunting

Snowballs by Lois Ehlert

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

For Spring and Summer

Outdoor Reading Circle

I Took a Walk by Henry Cole

Waiting for Wings by Lois Ehlert

In the Small, Small Pond by Denise Fleming

In the Tall, Tall Grass by Denise Fleming

Mud by Mary Lyn Ray

Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey

For Autumn

Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert

Nuts to You by Lois Ehlert

For All Seasons

Quick as a Cricket by Audrey Wood

Books for Early Childhood Professionals

If you are an early childhood professional who wants to encourage both structured and unstructured nature play, there are a number of helpful books you may want to have in your library. Some of these books include:

Children in Nature

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-deficit Disorder by Richard Louv

Beyond Ecophobia by David Sobel

Curriculum and Resources for Educators

Lens on Outdoor Learning by Wendy Banning and Ginny Sullivan

Small Wonders: Nature Education for Young Children by Linda Garrett and Hannah Thomas

Project Seasons: Hands-on Activities for Discovering the World by Deborah Parrella

Hug a Tree: And Other Things to Do Outdoors with Young Children by Elizabeth Sherwood, Robert Williams and Robert Rockwell

Mudpies to Magnets: A Preschool Science Curriculum by Elizabeth Sherwood, Robert Williams and Robert Rockwell

More Mudpies to Magnets: Science for Young Children by Elizabeth Sherwood, Robert Williams and Robert Rockwell

Childhood and Nature: Design Principles for Educators by David Sobel

Natural History

Naturally Curious: A Photographic Field Guide and Month-by-month Journey by Mary Holland

A Field Guide to the Familiar: Learning to Observe the Natural World by Gale Lawrence

The Outside Story: Local Writers Explore the Nature of New Hampshire and Vermont by Chuck Wooster


As you can imagine, the Internet is chock full of information regarding early childhood education and children in nature. Some helpful websites include:

Children and Nature Network

Green Hearts Institute for Nature in Childhood

NH Children in Nature Coalition

National Association for the Education of Young Children

Vermont Association for the Education of Young Children

Growing Up Wild

Project Learning Tree


Naturally Rooted

Naturally Curious

Leave a Reply