Best Nature Books for Children

There are two things I’ve loved since I was a child: reading and nature. Both make this heart happy and come alive. So naturally, when a friend of mine shared about a nature book giveaway, I jumped on it… and y’all, I won it! It was like Christmas when these books arrived at our home.

It’s been so fun exploring the pages of these books with my children (ages 4-9), and I wanted to share some of our favorites with you. Also, here’s a random fact: While picking out my top books for you, I discovered I was not only drawn to the words, but the illustrations as well. All of these books are not only written beautifully, but have stunning illustrations.

The Honeybee
Written by: Kirsten Hall
Illustrated by: Isabelle Arsenault

     

This is a book my four year old daughter adores. As soon as you open the book, you’re greeted with beautiful illustrations. The entire book reads in a sing-song kind of way; with catchy rhymes and rhythms throughout. It has a way of entertaining you with a story all while being educational and sharing facts about a honeybee’s extraordinary life. This would be a wonderful book to have in any family.

The Keeper of Wild Words
Written by: Brooke Smith
Illustrated by: Madeline Kloepper

     

Y’all, I’m gonna be completely honest with you. I totally cried when I read this children’s book. It’s not necessarily a tear jerker, but it just stirred something in my heart. The book is about a recent phenomena happening: the dictionary is replacing nature themed words like “poppy” or “wren” with words like “chatroom” and “voicemail.” It made me long to always return to nature, and to never let those wild words die… and also, it made me long to write in a way that stirs others’ hearts as well. Read this book to your kids, but listen closely; because it is gold.

National Parks of the U.S.A.
Written by: Kate Siber
Illustrated by: Chris Turnham

     

Now, this one is my nine year old’s favorite book out of the bunch. He keeps it by his bed, and probably searches through it every day. This book tells kids all about the history of each national park, what landscape and wildlife they can expect to see at each park, and many other fun facts tucked in the pages! If you’re planning on traveling to National Parks in the future, grab this book for your kids! It’s a great way for them to explore the place before you go.

Nature Anatomy
Written & Illustrated by: Julia Rothman
With help from: John Niekrasz

     

Want your kids to know some facts about practically everything in nature? Want them to learn in a way that’s easy for them to understand, and with excellent pictures? Then this is the book for you! Julia Rothman does a remarkable job showing us “the curious parts and pieces of the natural world.” She also has: Farm Anatomy and Ocean Anatomy, which are now on my Amazon Wish List!

Nature Journals
Written by: Your Kid
Illustrated by: Your Kid

Okay, so this last one isn’t a publication, but it’s a great suggestion. I bought each one of my kiddos a composition notebook, and about once a week (sometimes more!) we’ll go on a walk and record some things we find in nature. Sometimes they’ll draw, sometimes they’ll jot things down, and sometimes they’ll make up stories about what they see in nature. It’s been so much fun to watch them create in this way. It’s also a great way to reference different animals and plants in different seasons.

Ok friends, those are my top five nature themed books for children. I have so many more I want to read to my kids. I wanna know: What’s YOUR favorite nature themed book for kids or yourself?

Simplify: Garage Sale

Our garage was full. It was overflowing. Overflowing with the clothes I had gone through, the books that hadn’t been read in years, a jogging stroller that hadn’t held babies in months, and just your typical clutter that piles up when you live somewhere for 5 years with 4 kids.

That’s when I decided it was time. It was time for a good ol’ fashion garage sale. I have to say, it was really successful. I knew I didn’t want to have one of those all weekend garage sales; I wanted to do a one day 4 hour garage sale and be done with it. So that’s exactly what I did. Now, I’m going to give you a few tips to help your garage sale be successful and relatively painless.

1. Get your kids out of the house: My husband and father in law were gracious enough to take the boys to the aquarium while we held the garage sale.

2. Call in reinforcements: We happened to have the garage sale while my in laws were in town, so my mother in law stayed behind to help me with the garage sale, and help out when baby Sarah needed to be fed. Also, my sister Sarah (not to be confused with my baby Sarah) helped to man the garage sale. They were a great help, and we got to get in a little girl time, which is always nice!

3. Pick your day wisely: If there is a big, local event going on in your area, it’s probably not a good idea to have a garage sale at the same time. Try and see if anyone else is having garage/yard/estate sales in your area, because that will generate some more traffic for you. We happened to also have an estate sale going on in my neighborhood, which brought in a lot of traffic.

4. Advertise: You can kind of run with this as much or as little as you want to. I posted on some local Buy/Sell/Trade Facebook pages in my area, I posted on my own social media pages, and I put signs in my neighborhood directing them to the house. To me, that was all a quick and cheap way to advertise. I didn’t post pictures or prices of anything, mainly because I didn’t want to spend my time snapping and uploading pictures.

5. Price it Right: People are going to haggle with you at garage sales. It’s part of the game. You have to know what you’re willing to let something for go. If it was something I knew I’d have multiple people interested in (like my cloth diaper stash) I didn’t really do a lot of discounting there because I knew there were moms coming specifically for that. Other things like books/clothes/shoes I was willing to part with for a cheap price because I just wanted it gone. Also, we slashed a lot of prices the last hour of the garage sale because we just didn’t want to move it again!

Overall, I consider our garage sale a success. We made more than what I was projecting (woo hoo!). We got rid of the majority of our stuff. Mainly the only things we were left with were clothes and books. I loaded the trunk of our Corolla up and went straight to Goodwill with it. And now, we can actually fit that Corolla in the garage! Imagine that, using a garage for a vehicle instead of stuff.

Your turn! Have you had a garage sale before? What are some tips can you to have a successful sale?

Simplify: Books and Toys

books-and-toys

As a mom of 4 kids, we have a plethora of books and toys. I decided that would be the next place to start purging. I began with my own book collection. I didn’t attach a number to them, and I probably never will, but I did tell myself this: If I never went back and picked up the book again, don’t keep it. I had 10 books left by the time I was done. And y’all, I’m a reader. I’ve always loved to read. So, previously, I would hang on to books I thought were okay or books by famous authors that I thought maybe I’d appreciate later. Not anymore! I had also been hanging on to books from my psychology program that I’d never gone back to read. I only kept 1 of my psychology books, and again it was one I enjoyed reading. I said goodbye to Freud, Skinner, and behavioral therapy, and I kept Jung. I filled up an entire plastic tub of books. It was pretty liberating.

As far as my kids’ books, I decided to leave room for 2 bookshelves of books. On the top shelf we have books for the “older” boys, and on the bottom we have board books. It still looks like quite a bit, but I know in a couple of years those board books will be gone. I currently have a large box filled with kids books. I’m wondering what the best option would be now. Should I sell them? Or donate them? I’d like to donate them, but I haven’t done much research on that. If anyone has any insights on this, please comment below and share your knowledge!

My boys had so many toys they forgot about half of the toys they did have in their room. My goal was just to keep enough toys where I could see them all. I got all their toys out of boxes, put their favorite ones on the shelf, and got rid of what couldn’t fit. Also, I did put some of the noise making toys in the garage sale, because there’s only so much this mom can take. Bulky items like Halloween costumes that they still play with, we put in clear plastic bins on the floor in their closets. Then they can see them and easily get to them when they decide they want to turn into a dragon, giraffe or Paw Patrol character.

If I’m being honest, my boys still have what seems to be an insane amount of toys. Against their bedroom walls are bins of Legos, Mega Blocks, wooden blocks, alphabet blocks, and squishy cloth blocks. I really don’t think they need that many blocks. I could probably do another sweep in their room and come out with more stuff, but for now I’m done. Mainly because this purge has taken up a lot of my time these past couple of weeks!

We did have a garage sale, which is an adventure in and of itself, but I’ll post more on that later! In the meantime, live simply and contently my friends!

I must know: What tips can you share with parents on how to decide what toys to keep or what toys to toss?