10 Books & Activities for Preschoolers to Enjoy Outside

Head outside with these 10 books perfect for backyard reading, and a fun play activity to go with each one. Kids love reading outside in the summer and these awesome books and activities will keep them entertained all summer long. Perfect for your backyard reading nook!

I've said it before - we pretty much live in our backyard all summer long. And since reading is an important part of our day, in summer we like to grab some of our favorite books and bring them outside. Reading outside is a wonderful way to spend a summer day - I have very happy memories from my own childhood of relaxing in our backyard hammock with a good book and a tall glass of lemonade. I want to make these memories for my boys too - and though they love to read they are not quite at the "relaxing with a good book" stage. So I make sure to keep them active and engaged with these fun books that inspire outdoor play. Check out our 10 favorites and a fun way to play with each one!

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10 Books to Read in the Backyard with Activities Too

Little Blue Truck
The classic story of the lovable little truck who gets stuck in the mud and gets a bit of help from his friends is perfect for outdoor reading. Recreate the story in a mud puddle or the sandbox - check out our Little Blue Truck sensory play activity for inspiration!

Leo Lionni's classic about a dreamer of a mouse is perfect for sharing outside where you can celebrate the sights, sounds, and smells of nature. Pair it with a rock painting craft for the perfect outdoor activity.

Mrs. Wishy Washy's Farm
Three animals run away from the farm and discover their home isn't so bad after all! We love this book for outdoor reading and this messy play activity.

Make Way for Ducklings
Another classic tale, this one is celebrating it's 75th anniversary this year. It's a wonderful story about a family of ducks making their home in Boston, and with this fun duck path activity you can help the ducks navigate your own backyard.

Raindrop, Plop!
OK, I know it's really hard to read outside in the rain, but this is a great little book about playing outside in the rain, so maybe give it a try. Read together under an umbrella, then go out and enjoy a run through the raindrops. You can make this paper plate umbrella after you get back inside too.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Who doesn't love the Very Hungry Caterpillar? It's the perfect book for a picnic - you can create a buffet with all of Caterpillar's favorite foods. It's also a great book for doing a little scavenger hunt in your backyard - search for caterpillars, nibbles in the leaves, and butterflies!

My Friend Rabbit
This Caldecott medal winning book is fun for reading outside and playing with paper airplanes! See how we incorporated this story into paper airplane fun here.

The Woods
Sometimes in the summer it's still not dark outside when it's time for my kids to go to bed. On those nights, The Woods would make a super fun bedtime story to read outside in your PJs.  Be sure to make our quick no sew super hero cape so you can look just like the hero of the book.

In a Dark, Dark Cave
This new book would be so fun to read in a tent or after dark with a flashlight. But don't worry, there's a fun twist at the end that makes this a good read for little ones (it's not scary, I promise).

We're Going on a Bear Hunt
This is one of our favorites to read outside - you can really get kids up and moving as you follow the family on their adventure. Want to add even more fun? Check out this great We're Going on a Bear Hunt map activity from Buggy & Buddy.

Need help planning your summer days? Check out our summer planner to keep track of all your activities, summer reading, and more! Click the See More button for details and to grab yours.

Want more Backyard Ideas? Check these out!

Top 10 Backyard Camping Ideas from Sugar, Spice & Glitter
Top 10 Backyard Pool Noodle Games from Our Whimsical Days
Top 10 Kid Made Ways to Decorate your Backyard from Powerful Mothering
Top 10 Backyard Play Spaces from Play & Learn Every Day

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Laura R

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  1. Raindrop Plop! sounds perfect to read just because looking for puddles to jump in! ;)

  2. Some of our all-time favorites here. Wonderful list.