Over the summer we go on a lot of family field trips. We hit up museums, zoo’s aquariums, go swimming, the science center… you get the idea. Whenever we go somewhere I like to pair it with a great book before and after we go. We can talk about expectations and get excited before and compare our experience with that of the characters in the book after. Here are some of my favorite books that match with popular family outings for the summer.
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This is my very favorite outing and I highly recommend reading Lola at the Library by Anna McQuinn before you go. The book is delightful and perfect for preschoolers eager to go check out their own books. The Great Escape from City Zoo by Tohby Riddle is a cute book to read to your kids before heading to the zoo.It’s perfect for school age kids home for the summer, the humor might be lost on younger ones. For little guys try Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann , it’s the perfect book to read after a day at the zoo.
I love any excuse to learn more about any subject and Ice Cream: The Full Scoop by Gail Gibbons teaches more than you ever knew you could know about ice cream!
In I Want to Be a Fire Fighter (Sesame Street) by Linda Lee Maifair Grover visits his uncle’s fire station and he learns all about what life is like for firefighters. Don’t discount this book because it uses a familiar character. Sometimes these TV or movie characters books knock it out of the park!
Kids love the pool, except when they don’t. Ease worries and pump your kids up for pool time with Splish, Splash, Splat! (Splat the Cat) by Rob Scotten.
This is such a simple family outing although if you have ever tried to remember how to fly a kite with a three year old trying to help you at the same time you might want to prep them with Kite Flying .
When I was a little girl we went to the ballet a lot. Brontorina by James Howe is such a great book to add on to a trip to see all the “perfect” ballerinas. I love the lesson this book shares so much it makes me tear up every single time I read it, and we read it a lot.
I know many of you will be visiting amusement parks this summer and maybe a few of your children will go for their first roller coaster ride too! Roller Coaster by Marla Frazee will delight whether they are the daredevils or keen observers.
I love this book because it isn’t about a family that gets into the car and sings songs happily until they arrive, it’s a road trip, with kids. Little Critters the Trip has frustrated parents, bored kids, and even some trouble with directions. I like using it to talk about how we will try to avoid all of this every time we take a road trip.
This is one of my favorite books about instruments because it takes time to introduce them one by one. Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin by Lloyd Moss is so much more than that though, it’s a lovely rhyming book that your kids will love.
S’mores are just one of the things about camping that S Is for S’mores: A Camping Alphabet (Alphabet Books) covers and as an added bonus it’s an Alphabet book too!
Some books are useful and some should be required reading. Preschoolers excited or hesitant about an upcoming flight will love Going on a Plane (First Experiences).
One of my favorite places to go as a little girl was the Japanese Garden The Falling Flowers by Jennifer B. Reed is a great companion for a trip to see cherry blossoms whether you are in Toykyo, Vancouver BC or somewhere else.
Whether you read How the Dinosaur Got to the Museum before or after seeing some dinosaur bones in person it’s a great book to dive deeper into the subject!
The Berenstain Bears’ Big Book of Science and Nature is my pick to be paired with a trip to the science center. Science centers cover so many aspects of science and so does this book.
Kids worry so much more than many adults realize and even though they learn very early on to try to handle those worries themselves having a book with an over the top character speak about the worries is totally refreshing. Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach by Melanie Watt does a bang up job and entertaining and soothing worries through the giggles.
I love the farmer’s market for the produce, my kids love it for the ice cream. Read Eating the Alphabet: Fruits & Vegetables from A to Z by Lois Ehlert before you go and brush up on some of the less frequently eaten veggies then see if you can find them at the market, Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey is the perfect pick for blueberry picking. You may want to reassure your kids that there will be no bears at the blueberry farm and decide before you go if you will be sampling the berries as you pick.
I bought Meet Me at the Art Museum: A Whimsical Look Behind the Scenes by Davis Goldin at our local museum and my kids love reading it feeling like they are getting a behind the scenes tour with every page.Let Them Play by Margot Theis Raven will make you think twice about baseball just being a game. It’s more than that and never more apparent as when kids are kept from doing what they do best- play!
Our Stars by Anne Rockwell is a simple non fiction book that would be a great match for a trip to the planetarium or observatory.
Around here we have lots of little and big aquariums and I chose Commotion in the Ocean by Giles Andreae as the book for a trip to the aquarium because it covers so many different creatures in its rhyming text!
I adore 4th of July which tickles my kids since I am Canadian. Still my adopted home has charmed me especially our small town parade where more of the town is IN the parade than watching it. Hats off for the Fourth of July will help you prepare your kids for the festivities.
Do you have a farm close by to visit? I hope you do because seeing a real farm first hand is a great experience for young kids. Sally Goes to the Farm is a fun look at farm life. Of course you could also go with Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown but it won’t make you laugh like Sally will!
I have never taken my kids to an apple orchard but I have taken my fair share of field trips with other people’s children to them. Apple Farmer Annie by Monica Wellington is a great choice whether you are reading it with your own or other people’s kids!