Youth & Outreach

Five Books for Your Kid’s First Camping Trip

Susy Alkaitis - June 14, 2019

Taking your kids on their first camping trip this summer? Here are some Bigfoot-approved books to get them excited about their big adventure – and about Leave No Trace, of course!

Maisy Goes Camping by Lucy Nolan: For your tiniest campers, this short, lighthearted story is a sweet introduction to their first night of sleeping in a tent…and a reminder for all of us to practice putting up that tent before heading out on a camping trip!

Three Days in a River in a Red Canoe by Vera B. Williams

This story of a canoe camping trip shows kids that everything doesn’t have to go exactly right on an adventure to have fun. (We love when the protagonist shakes her fist at the sky during a storm…never too soon to introduce your progeny to Type II Fun.) We also appreciate the spirit of cooperation woven throughout the book. Everyone paddles, sets up camp, cooks and cleans the dishes. (Leave No Trace caveat: We recommend washing dishes this easy way, rather than in the river. And if you must rinse off in the river, just forgo the soap.) Plus, we love that a mom and aunt are the trip’s fearless leaders.

When We Go Camping by Margriet Ruurs

If your kids love to get lost in detailed illustrations and/or are fascinated by wildlife (that is to say, if your kids are, um, kids), they’ll love following this family’s sunrise-to-sunset adventures as they set up camp, play in the lake, climb on rocks, go fishing, make dinner and, of course, tell stories by the fire. (You’ll even catch them doing a bear hang – click here to learn how to do it yourself!) Bonus: Every page has animal tracks – guess which animal they belong to and check the legend at the end to see if you’re right!

National Parks of the U.S.A. by Kate Siber

Hey, grown-up. Give that book back to your kid. Just kidding…but, seriously, you might have to remind yourself to share this gorgeously illustrated account of some of the United States’ most iconic National Parks. You’ll find history tidbits, flora and fauna fun facts, activity ideas, and a “Can You Find It?” challenge in each section. Also, did you know about the invasive zebra-striped lionfish wreaking havoc in Biscayne National Park? That’s some “Leave What You Find” education right there.

S is for S’Mores by Helen Foster James

Want to get your kid excited about camping? Say the magic word: s’mores. Then sit down with this book to take an A-to-Z adventure. You’ll explore parks, meet famous conservationists and learning how to get ready for all sorts of outdoor trips. (Seriously, there’s some legit “Plan Ahead and Prepare” info sprinkled in there, permits and all.) Little ones will love perusing the rich illustrations and the short text accompanying each letter of the alphabet, while older adventurers can dig into the more detailed descriptions. Plus: E is for “Essentials.” As in the 10 Outdoor Essentials. Makes our little Leave No Trace hearts sing.

What books did your parents read to you to get you excited about camping? What books get your kids pumped about the outdoors?

Enjoy Your World. Leave No Trace.

Leave No Trace’s Jessie Johnson and Matt Schneider are part of the 2019 Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Program that provides free, mobile education to communities across the country. Proud partners of this program include Subaru of America, REI, Eagles Nest Outfitters, Deuter, Thule, Fjällräven and Klean Kanteen.

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