Are you searching for the best camping books for preschoolers (ages 2-5), but not sure which one to get? With so many camping books for kids on the market, we know it’s difficult to pick out one that will spark your child’s imagination and make them fall in love with the Great Outdoors.
There’s so many important reasons to get a camping book for kids:
- Helps develop critical cognitive, language and listening skills;
- Introduces children to the outdoors and caring for our environment;
- Can alleviate anxiety children may feel when going camping for the first time;
- Is a great way to connect with your child or grandchild over something you love;
- Makes an impactful, lasting gift (better than a t-shirt they will soon outgrow!)
Our editors consumed a huge selection of camping books for preschoolers to come up with the list of the 8 best books for children ages 2-5. We consulted with other parents and educational professionals to bring you the best of the best kids camping books. These are all books we’ve read to our own children.
Without further ado, let’s get to the list:
Our Curated Selection of the 8 Best Camping Books for Preschoolers
All the kids camping books on this list are picture books targeted at children ages 2-5. The books all share common attributes, which includes:
- Camping themes
- Strong educational element
- Lovable characters
- Simple, easy-to-understand words
- Easy-to-follow plots
- Bright and vibrant illustrations
Disclosure: In order to maintain our site, we may receive a small commission if you decide to purchase one of these wonderful books for your children.
Let’s first start with our Editor’s Choice for our favorite camping book for preschoolers.
A Camping Spree With Mr. Magee [Editor’s Top Choice]
Chris Van Dusen is one of our all-time favorite children’s authors and he brings his love of camping into A Camping Spree With Mr. Magee. In this fast and super-fun book, Mr. Magee and his sidekick pup Dee take off on a camping trip and soon find themselves face to face with a marshmallow-loving bear.
Can they escape before getting eaten by the bear? (I think you know the answer)
The best part about Chris Van Dusen books are the pitch-perfect rhymes that are on par with the great Dr. Suess. Van Dusen, who is also the illustrator, provides beautifully drawn retro-style illustrations that he spends months hand-painting. We often find ourselves reading this snappy book two times in one sitting – once for the story and another time to enjoy the pictures!
We can’t recommend a more engaging, educational and flat out fun camping book for your child. For this reason, A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee is our Editor’s Choice for best camping book for preschoolers. The book is best suited for children in the 4-5 age range, but the easy rhyme scheme can be enjoyed by 2-3 year olds.
The Little Book of Camping
The Little Book Of Camping provides a simple and easy-to-comprehend roadmap introducing preschoolers to camping. With a warm and engaging story and excellent old-school illustrations, it is the perfect book to ease some of the fear that cautious children have about camping.
We include The Little Book of Camping on our best books for preschoolers list not only because it is fun, but because it introduces your young readers to a range of ideas, activities and emotions surrounding the camping experience. This includes a lot of “how-to” and safety tips which makes it an excellent resource for counselors, parents, and teachers who want to mix education in with the reading experience.
In Flashlight, a child has his flashlight and makes new discoveries in the dark while camping in the forest. The boy finds all sorts of night-time creatures – trees, plants, insects and streams with the help of his trusty flashlight that helps him uncover the secrets of the night.
A book that inspires imagination and creativity in the minds of preschoolers, Flashlight has stunning visuals that aims to ease your child’s fear of the dark.
As the Busy Librarian puts it: “Flashlight allows readers to experience the wonder and excitement of nighttime exploration in the woods and wordlessly entices readers to explore the hidden nature outside their own homes.”
Despite its lack of words, we think that Flashlight offers your child something special: the chance to use their imagination. For this reason, it is one of the best camping books for kids you can get your hands on.
Maisy Goes Camping
For those who don’t know Maisy is kinda a big deal. She’s been to London. She’s been to pre-school. She’s even been to the hospital. In her next big adventure, legendary children’s author Lucy Cousins takes the jovial little Mouse on a camping trip.
The reason we choose Maisy Goes Camping as one of our favorite camping books for kids is because it is short, simple and cheerful. Even if you’ve never read a Maisy book, this adorable little mouse doesn’t have to say much to work her way into your heart.
In her latest camping adventure, trouble ensues when Maisy and her animal friends realize they have trouble all squeezing into a tent. The colorful illustrations and hysterical hijinx of this clumsy little crew will have your little one tickled at the idea of going camping. It’s a perfect book for young preschoolers and definitely one of the best camping books for kids to have on your shelf!
S Is For S’Mores
An ABC’s book for older preschoolers, S is for S’Mores is an educational way to introduce your little one to the A-Z’s of camping terms. Author Helen Foster James knows a little something about camping – she’s been on more than one hundred camping trips in her lifetime. Her travels include backpacking down (and up!) the Grand Canyon, hiking the Sierra Mountain passes, and canoeing down the Colorado River.
S is for S’Mores is on our best camping books for preschoolers list because it’s not your traditional ABC book starting with “Apple” and ending at “Zebra”. It’s a beautiful and educational introduction to camping terms that your older preschooler will be able to follow and remember for years to come.
With some lengthier text and more complex illustrations this book is targeted at older preschoolers ages 4-6. It’s a great educational book to complement with a more character-driven book such as Camping Spree with Mr. Magee or Maisy Goes Camping.
Caillou Goes Camping
The lovable, bald-headed boy from Canada is back at it, and this time he is going camping. In Caillou Goes Camping we find Grandpa and Caillou setting up the tent in the backyard. They roast marshmallows, look up at the stars … that is until Caillou gets a bit scared by the nighttime noises.
We love this book because Caillou is a sweet and curious character who small children strongly identify with. It also deals with the topic of fear – and how to overcome it – which is an important lesson for preschool-age kids.
You can never go wrong with Caillou camping with his family. It’s a sweet story about special family moments and that’s why it’s one of our picks for best camping books for kids. This book is best suited for 3-5 year old children.
Don’t Feed the Bear
A laugh-out-loud story that will quickly become your preschooler’s favorite nighttime book, Don’t Feed the Bear will leave you hungry for more. A bit more of a nature story than camping story, Don’t Feed the Bears is about a back-and-forth fight between a (very) hungry bear and a (very) strict park ranger.
This is one of the best camping books for preschoolers because the tit-for-tat relationship between the bear and the park ranger is flat out hysterical. You will find your child belly laughing as they observe the back-and-forth unfold – up until the very last adorable twist at the end.
Don’t Feed the Bear is warmly illustrated and approachable for kids ages 2-5 years old. It would make the perfect gift for a child who loves animals and being outdoors.
Amelia Bedelia Goes Camping
For this last pick, we are going a bit old school and bringing back one of our favorite characters who was created back in the 60’s – Amelia Bedelia. Many of us parents and grandparents remember Amelia Bedelia from our own childhood as the charming maid who takes the request of her employers (the Rogers) a bit too literally.
In Amelia Bedelia Goes Camping, Amelia tries her best to do exactly as she’s told, but pitching a tent is not the same as throwing it into the bushes, and catching a fish with your bare hands isn’t easy. As usual, the mixed-up housekeeper makes this camping trip one hugely entertaining adventure.
We love Amelia Bedelia Goes Camping because it reminds us of our own childhood and the laughs we had at Amelia’s zany antics. The Amelia Bedelia books still hold up today and your kids will giggle with laughter each time Amelia does something that they just can’t believe.
This book is perfect for kids 4-6 years of age who read on their own but still need a little help. In our opinion, it’s one of the best kids camping books on the market!
How To Choose The Best Kids Camping Books Specifically for Your Child
Now that we’ve rolled out our list of the best camping books for preschoolers, let’s take a quick minute to figure out which camping book is best for your child or grandchild.
Here are a few factors that will help you pick out the right camping book for that special child (or children!) in your life:
Is The Book Age Appropriate?
The first question you should ask when selecting a kids camping book is whether the book is age appropriate. For preschoolers, you will look at picture-based camping books that have:
- Simple, easy to understand words;
- Short sentences;
- Basic plots;
- Vivid Illustrations;
- Sing-song rhymes;
- Lovable (non-threatening) characters;
Of course, a camping book you get for a 2 year old will be a bit different than you get for your 5-year old who is able to recite words back to you. You will need to assess your child and figure out what he/she responds to and where they are in their development cycle.
Typically, online sellers will provide an age-appropriate range for each book. Although each child is different and develops at a different pace, this will give you a general understanding of the books that are at the right level for your child.
Will the Subject Matter Appeal to the Child?
The awesome thing about camping is that it is a topic that is universally loved by children. The adventure, excitement and imagination that is sparked by the Great Outdoors is something that will almost definitely captivate your child.
The decision on which camping books for kids to choose really comes down to the individual taste of the child. Does he/she like lovable characters they are familiar with from TV? Do they like animal characters or do they prefer a little boy or girl as the protagonist of the story?
You can see the difference in books like Amelia Bedelia Goes Camping and Don’t Feed the Bear. Ameila Bedelia centers around an adult human protagonist, while Don’t Feed the Bear centers around a bear. Your child may identify more with the human – or maybe he/she will identify more with the bear. There is nothing wrong with either – each child is different and special in their own way!
The key is unlocking what excites and sparks the imagination of the child you are buying the book for.
Fun vs. Educational
Most camping books for kids will be light, fun and easy to digest for preschoolers. Books like Calliou Goes Camping and Maisey Goes Camping are simple, easy and offer familiar characters for your child to latch on to.
If you are looking to teach your child while also enjoying a fun story, you can look at books such as S Is for S’More and The Book of Camping which teach young readers important skills or lessons that are a bit more advanced. The educational camping books for preschoolers will tend to skew a bit older and will be most appropriate for kids in the 4-6 age range.
We think the best idea is to mix and match the purely fun with some educational books to give your child the best of both worlds. For example, if you are looking to buy 2 books, maybe consider A Camping Spree With Mr. Magee and The Book of Camping. You can never have too big a library for your growing reader.
Final Word on the Best Camping Books for Preschoolers
It’s not hard to get lost in the sea of incredible books for your preschool child. With thousands of selections to choose from, it’s easy to make a mistake and get a book that is not age appropriate for your child or simply does not fit their developing sensibilities.
We hope this list of the best camping books for kids gives you a place to start when searching for a great camping-themed book for your preschooler. There are plenty of camping books for your kids to enjoy, but we think that these 8 titles will be a sure-fire hit.
Thank you so much for being a loyal reader. If you have any questions or think we missed a title, please reach out to us or leave a comment – we’d love to hear from you!