10 Camping Books for Preschoolers to Enjoy and Learn From

| Last Updated: July 27, 2022

Summer is an awesome time of year for a camping trip and connecting with nature. While there’s a lot of experiences to look forward to, it may be a challenge for some parents to get their kids thrilled about spending time in the great outdoors.

Camping books are a great way to give kids an overview of what goes into the experience. From picture books to guides, our selection of camping books will help get kids ready for upcoming adventures, whether it’s their first time or tenth!

Great Camping Books for Preschoolers

Reading | Inferential | Verbal

1. Flashlight

Wordless yet magical, Lizi Boyd highlights the beauty of nighttime in this picture book, enticing kids to explore outside the tent and make new discoveries when camping.

Through gouache illustrations, it shows a boy wandering alone and exploring the woods at night. On every page, he discovers different things as he moves his flashlight beams around, revealing mysteries of the dark outdoors. In a cute twist, the kid drops his flashlight, and then he meets friendly, nocturnal creatures who take turns shedding light on him.

If you have kids who might be afraid of the dark outside camp, Flashlight can help alleviate this fear. This book being wordless also allows them to use their imaginations, practice their inferential skills, and talk more, reinforcing verbal skills.

Reading | Cognitive | Vocabulary

2. Let’s Go on a Hike

With Katrina Liu’s sweet rhymes and Heru Setiawan’s vivid illustrations, this book will get kids excited about spending time outdoors to see all nature has to offer.

In the story, a young boy goes on a hike with his parents and dog. When he gets bored and starts complaining along the way, his father gives him binoculars, and then he begins to notice all the interesting things and creatures normally hidden in the forest, just waiting to be found out.

Let’s Go on a Hike makes a fun and helpful bedtime read if you want to inspire your kids to connect with and appreciate the world around them.

Reading | Vocabulary | Cognitive

3. S Is for S’mores: A Camping Alphabet

From Helen Foster James, a veteran camper herself comes this wonderful alphabet-themed book that can grow with every little camper as they age.

Accompanied with beautiful illustrations by Lita Judge, the book covers everything camping and outdoors, offering rich vocabulary and stimulating content. Each letter of the alphabet has a corresponding short verse and fact-filled paragraphs discussing topics related to the letter’s theme. For example, the D is for Desert page talks about suitable clothing for desert campers, the driest desert in North America, and dune buggies.

Informative and fun at the same time, S Is for S’mores is an excellent camping book not only for preschoolers but for the whole outdoors-loving family out there.

Reading | Phonological Awareness | Language

4. Brave Little Camper

Here comes another engaging book to gently introduce toddlers and preschoolers to nighttime adventures!

Brought alive by Jen Taylor’s illustrations, this interactive sound book invites kids to spend the night in the forest and listen to the sounds. Together with Little Camper and friendly, adorable woodland animals, they go on a journey through a night filled with discoveries and… courage. As your young ones follow along with the story, exploring the campsite, picture icons cue them to press the button to hear the sound effects that add to the fun.

Providing a sensory experience and an opportunity to practice fine motor skills, Cottage Door Press’ Brave Little Camper is a must addition to your kids’ bookshelves!

Reading | Cognitive | Language

5. Curious George Goes Camping

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The adorably mischievous monkey goes through another day of outrageous events—this time, in the wilderness.

From Margret and H.A Rey’s classic Curious George series that so many kids love, this book has George and his friend, the man in the yellow hat going on a camping trip. George tries to be helpful– learning as much as he can about tents and campfires. But to no one’s surprise, a chain of hijinks follows when George gets curious and meets the creatures in the woods.

While mostly a fun story combined with playful watercolor illustrations, Curious George Goes Camping teaches kids an important lesson about safety and what NOT to do on a camping trip.

Reading | Problem Solving | Cognitive

6. A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee

Exciting illustrations, clever rhyme, humor, and a dash of suspense come together in this adventuresome entry in Chris Van Dusen’s Mr. Magee series.

Outdoors-loving Mr. Magee and his dog, Dee, go on a peaceful camping trip. They manage to find a great spot — high on a hill, fantastic view over a nearby waterfall, perfect for watching the sunset while roasting marshmallows on the campfire — nothing could make the day even better. But the real adventure begins when a sweet tooth bear comes along to take their marshmallows and sends them, in their camper, splashing down the falls.

With an exciting plot and easy rhymes, A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee delights kids of any age and even adults. Readers will love flipping fast through the pages to see how the two get out of the precarious situation.

Reading | Problem Solving | Empathy

7. Just Me and My Dad

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Good intentions outweigh the mistakes in this heartwarming classic story of a father-and-son camping trip by Mercer Mayer.

From a great series that so many kids love, this book has Little Critter and his father go on a venturesome yet sweet nighttime camping trip. Little Critter tries to be as helpful as possible, but troubles keep coming his way. However, despite all the difficulties, they manage to put up their tent, catch fish for dinner, and have a good long night in the friendly wilderness.

Just Me and My Dad reminds kids and parents that campouts do not always go as smoothly as they may hope. But at the end of the day, fun prevails over hardships and it is a great way to connect with nature and loved ones.

Reading | Vocabulary | Cognitive

8. National Parks of the U.S.A

Loaded with fascinating facts neatly put together by Kate Siber, and beautiful, vintagey illustrations by Chris Turnham– this guidebook is a downright feast for both the eyes and minds of camping loving children.

There are 21 parks covered in this book – each one is introduced by a full bleed, captivating illustration of its scenery and a caption about its composition, followed by a set of illustrations featuring some wildlife, plants, and poisonous creatures that inhabit the area. At the end of a book is an index of wildlife and a “hunt it” challenge for readers.

From Florida’s river-laced Everglades to the continent’s fastest land animals sprinting 60 miles per hour, the National Parks of the USA covers enough information to raise awareness and inspire kids to visit and personally see the wonders of these natural treasures.

Reading | Cognitive | Social

9. Fred and Ted Go Camping

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Continuing P.D Eastman’s legacy, his son Peter Eastman creates a new storyline featuring the beloved Big Dog . . . Little Dog stars Fred and Ted.

Through simple text and engaging cartoon illustrations, the book follows the dog pals Fred and Ted as they go on a camping trip. Although good friends, the two are complete opposites and have different approaches to doing usual camping activities such as packing equipment, pitching a tent, canoeing, fishing, and finding food. In spite of this, each one lets the other have his own way without judging or teasing. 

With simple and straightforward sentences, Fred and Ted Go Camping makes a great introduction to reading, the concept of opposites, and the values of friendship.

Reading | Social | Patience

10. A Campfire Tail

If you know a child who might be nervous about summer camp, this fantasy book by Sarah Glenn Marsh and Ana Gómez would make a great gift!

A kid who knows what it’s like on the first day at camp offers to be Dragon’s buddy. The camp should be fun having the dragon, but when swimming, sailing, tug-of-war, and more activities go wrong, both the kid and their buddy become outcasts. The kid begins to rethink their choices, and just as when they’re about to give up, Dragon comes through in a clutch.

Teaching children about friendship, inclusion, patience and kindness with those who are different, A Campfire Tail not only makes a good summer camping book but also works well for the first days of school.

Conclusion

Camping and spending time outdoors benefit kids in preschool both physically and mentally. However, the ideas of sleeping in the wilderness, hearing unfamiliar sounds, and cooking over a campfire may be daunting, especially for first time campers. These camping books are helpful in alleviating such fears and teaching kids that there’s much to enjoy and learn from nature.

Whether you’re camping atop a mountain, in the backyard, or just reading about camping at bedtime, be sure to pick one or more of these camping books for kids!

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