Kids adventure books

Spark their imagination

Anita Kerwin-Nye By Anita Kerwin-Nye

In her day job at the YHA, GetOutside Champion Anita Kerwin-Nye sees first-hand the impact of residentials and outdoor learning in National Parks and awe-inspiring spaces. While travel is still limited, how can we encourage children to think about the adventures ahead of them?

It's devastating to know that over 500,000 young people are missing out on their first residential this year. And as much as parents across the globe have taken on the task of home schooling, it's safe to say that outdoor learning is going to be a part of the recovery for children and young people as we move back to a more 'normal' way of life.

In the meantime though, it's important that we engage them with colourful ideas for planning future adventures, connect them with wildlife and excite them with endless possibilities to explore the world around them.

7yr old making den

There are lots of fabulous books on nature – including the beautiful The Lost Words but what about books on adventure in the great outdoors?

From the adventures of Going on A Bear Hunt to Hatchett, on a teen surviving in the wild. Coot Club – part of the Swallows and Amazons series with working class kids in Norfolk to Handa’s Surprise in South West Kenya, there's ample to choose from.

And these from my fellow GetOutside Champions: Amazing Family Adventures and The Ultimate Explorers Guide for Kids.

A favourite book in our home is Quest for Adventure – a collection of the greatest real life adventures on (and off) the planet. The book’s author Chris Bonington did many of his first climbs within a stone’s throw of our home – the same rocks our youngest two clamber over whenever we head out for a walk.

Because adventure starts in the mind and – while not everyone will climb Everest, sail alone around the world, explore the Nile, the Arctic, and the Antarctic, or land on the moon like the protagonists in Quest for Adventure – everybody who does those thing starts off with a spark in their imagination.

Below are four favourites based on recommendations from teachers, parents and children. And you can find a longer list here.

1. A Magical Do-Nothing Day

Beatrice Alemagna shares an important message on leaving devices behind and coming alive from a ramble in the woods.

2. Journey to the River Sea

Written by Eva Ibbotson, this colourful book follows 13-year-old Maia’s Amazon adventure.

3. The Lost Book of Adventure

Unknown Adventurer and Teddy Keen, this book is made from the notes of the unknown adventurer - the ultimate how to have an adventure guide.

Journey to the River Sea book cover

Journey to the River Sea book cover. Credit: Amazon.

Lost book of adventure book cover

Lost book of adventure book cover. Credit: Amazon.

4. Go Wild in the Woods: An Adventure Handbook

Goldie Hawk and Rachael Saunders bring you this treasure of a book published by National Trust.

Learn how to make your own water by drinking wee and other things guaranteed to make your kids want to have a go!

Every exciting adventure starts off with a spark in their imagination

Go Wild in the Woods: An Adventure Handbook

Go Wild in the Woods: An Adventure Handbook. Credit: Amazon.

If you have others, please do share. you can find me on Twitter at anitakntweets and everychildshld. I'm particularly interested in fiction books that reflect urban adventures close to home (Parkour anyone?!) and those that include children with a broad range of experiences and backgrounds.

This article is adapted from a piece originally written for Every Child Should.

Take a look at even more family fun ideas on GetOutside.

Click for more ideas to get active outside safely

Published 08/06/2020

Anita Kerwin-Nye By Anita Kerwin-Nye


Anita is self-professed fat & fifty not fit & fleecy - outdoors for life.

Find out more about Anita Kerwin-Nye.