Books to encourage outdoor play
07 July, 2023
Fresh air, sunshine, nature, exercise – being outside feels so good! So, switch off the Wi-Fi, hide the screens and schedule time every day to play outdoors with your children. Need some inspiration for what to do once you’re outside? Read one of these books first and you’ll be bursting with ideas!
This book is a beautiful reminder of the fun to be had and the wonder to discover in our own backyards. Tilly’s mum turns the TV off and sends her outside to play. Reluctant at first, Tilly spends all day in the backyard, exploring, climbing a tree, watching the clouds, playing with sticks and using her imagination. She loves it!
The illustrations in this book are beautiful and bright, vibrant colours that hint at adventure. The endpapers are gorgeous too, changing from front to back. Backyard Magic is written by Brisbane author Wenda Shurety, illustrated by Harriet Hobday and published by Affirm Press.
Australian Backyard Buddies
This book is a super-cute call to get outdoors and explore your garden, then come inside and record your own observations about what you’ve found. It’s a cheerful field guide to common critters – ladybugs, butterflies, ants, snails – as well as a few we don’t see so often. The illustrations are a delight. The animals have fabulous expressions and look like they have been moulded from clay and photographed. They’re pictured alongside their favourite plants (which look like they’ve been pressed – there’s another fun activity), and a sun or a moon, depending on what time of day you can spot them. There’s a short description of each critter and tongue-in-cheek “top tips” which are a bit of fun. Australian Backyard Buddies is written and illustrated by Brisbane artist Andy Geppert and published by Hachette Australia.
Let’s Build a Backyard
This relatable book is lovely to read aloud with rhyming, repetition and fun onomatopoeia to say together or shout out loud. There is great inspiration for backyard projects, as the book follows a child and their dad as they dig, plant and build together. Let’s Build a Backyard is written by Adelaide engineer and author Mike Lucas, illustrated by Daron Parton and published by Hachette Australia.
The ABC Kids Guide to Loving the Planet
This book is fantastically uplifting and positive. It’s beautifully illustrated, written just right for children and jam-packed with achievable ways for kids to love our planet. The illustrations are gloriously cheerful, encouraging readers to wonder at nature and to value it. There are loads of projects and tips, like saving seeds or taking your rubbish home when you picnic. The ABC Kids Guide to Loving the Planet is written by Jaclyn Crupi, illustrated by Sydney artist Cheryl Orsini and published by Harper Collins Australia.
On Sudden Hill
This lovely story is set in the country where kids play outdoors with cardboard boxes. It’s a great reminder about the joy to be found in simple things with illustrations that convey a feeling of carefree fun. The story also explores the complexities of friendship and feelings of jealousy. On Sudden Hill is written by Linda Sarah, illustrated by Benji Davies and published by Simon and Schuster.
For more fun and educational ways to encourage your children to go outside, read our ‘Five educational moments your child can have in the backyard’ blog.