Books to take outside
"The Kids' Outdoor Adventure Book" by Stacey Tornio and Ken Keffler; all ages; $19: This book boasts 448 great things to do in nature before you grow up. Some will be pretty challenging but very cool, including harvesting honey and watching bats at sunset. Each activity is ranked on an adventure scale from 1 to 5.
"The Motorboat Book" by Ed Sobey; age 9 and older; $15: This book guides crafty and mechanically inclined kids in how to build models of jet boats, paddlewheelers and even submarines. You're likely to have many of the needed supplies at home, including a milk carton, foam cups and plates, and balloons. Our favorite was a DUKW (pronounced "duck") boat, built with -- you guessed it -- a rubber ducky.
"Look Up! Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard" by Annette LeBlanc Cate; ages 7 and older; $16: All you really need to do is what the title of this book says. Go outside and look up. You're likely to see and hear birds as soon as you start paying attention. This book -- told with funny, bright, cartoon illustrations -- is filled with amazing facts.
"How to Raise Monarch Butterflies: A Step-by-Step Guide for Kids" by Carol Pasternak; ages 6 and older; $9: The book's easy-to-follow instructions, from finding caterpillars or monarch eggs to caring for them, will inspire, but you need to be dedicated if you want to raise butterflies. Caterpillars require care every day, like a hamster or a puppy.
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