Reading Outdoors with Children

Mum and 2 young children reading outdoors in the bush

Thank you to our guest author, Michelle Morpeth, founder of Outdoorsy NZ.

Getting outdoors doesn’t always need to entail the effort of a full day adventure mission. If you’re trying to fit in more time outdoors with your family, have a think about all the things you normally do indoors and consider if you could do them outside more often. For example:

  • breakfast is more delicious outside!
  • folding and sorting laundry is not quite so tedious if you choose to do it in a shady corner of the garden, or out on your deck…rope in the kids to help!
  • reading books becomes a much more sensory experience combined with nature.

Reading together is something we enjoy as a family, and we love to turn it into a little adventure by taking it outdoors. We choose a few books, stuff them into a backpack along with a rug and some snacks, and head out to find a sheltered spot for story time.

Our Favourite Books for Reading Outdoors

Here are some of our favourite children’s fiction books for diving into outdoors:

These are particularly funny and quirky, and are well worth seeking out!

  • The ‘Snake & Lizard’ series by Joy Cowley and Gavin Bishop
  • ‘Skunk & Badger’ and ‘Egg Marks the Spot’ by Amy Timberlake
  • ‘Slowly, Slowly, Slowly Said the Sloth’ by Eric Carle
  • ‘I Want My Hat Back’ and ‘The Rock From the Sky’ by Jon Klassen

Here are some great non-fiction options which could help identify the things you see around you:

  • ‘In the Garden’ ‘At the Beach’  and ‘In the Bush’ by Ned Barraud & Gillian Candler
  • ‘Wildlife of Aotearoa’ by Gavin Bishop

…and finally, we also love reading myths and legends. They really seem to come to life outdoors! A perfect compendium of these is also by Gavin Bishop: ‘Atua – Maori Gods and Heroes’.

Young child reading outdoors in the bush

So gather up some of your favourites and spend some quality time together out in the elements, reading and discussing stories and ideas with the wind in your hair and the leaves rustling around you.

What are some of your family’s favourite books? Let me know in the comments below.


Michelle is the founder of Outdoorsy NZ, a company which supports and encourages people to recalibrate their wellbeing through time spent outdoors.

You can find out more about her events and retreats for mums by joining her inspiring community, The Outdoorsy Mama group on Facebook, (where you will join almost 8000 other kiwi mums for support and encouragement around all things outdoorsy), get tips on Instagram or check out her website if you’re interested in wellbeing workshops for the workplace and schools.



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