A Year-Round Guide to Outdoor Learning

The average child can identify over 300 corporate logos, but only 10 native plants or animals—a telling indictment of our modern disconnection from nature. Soaring levels of obesity, high rates of ADHD, feelings of stress and social awkwardness and “Nature Deficit Disorder” are further unintended consequences of a childhood spent primarily indoors.

The Big Book of Nature Activities is a comprehensive guide for parents and educators to help youth of all ages explore, appreciate and connect with the natural world. This rich, fully illustrated compendium features:

  • Nature-based skills and activities such as species identification, photography, journaling and the judicious use of digital technology
  • Ideas, games and activities grounded in what’s happening in nature each season
  • Core concepts that promote environmental literacy, such as climate change and the mechanisms and wonder of evolution, explained using a child-friendly, engaging approach
  • Lists of key species and happenings to observe throughout the year across most of North America.

Perfect for families, educators, and youth leaders, The Big Book of Nature Activities is packed with crafts, stories, information and inspiration to make outdoor learning fun!

About the Authors:

Drew Monkman is an award-winning environmental advocate, naturalist, and former board member of the Camp Kawartha summer camp and outdoor education centre. A retired elementary school teacher, Drew’s interest in integrating nature activities and environmental education into all areas of the curriculum led him to oversee the development of an outdoor classroom which went on to become a model for many similar projects throughout Ontario. In addition to writing a weekly nature column, Drew is the author of several seasons based nature guides including Nature’s Year and Nature’s Year in the Kawarthas. Drew has also received an Honorary Doctorate of Science from Trent University, for his work in promoting nature education. (www.drewmonkman.com)

Jacob Rodenburg is the Executive Director of Camp Kawartha, an award winning summer camp and outdoor education centre which uses music, drama, hands-on exploration, games and activities to inspire awe and wonder for the local environment. He teaches part time at Trent University, where he spearheaded the development of an “Eco Mentor” certificate program for teacher candidates which was subsequently adopted by several other universities. As well as publishing numerous articles on children, nature and the environment, Jacob has worked in the field of outdoor education for 25 years and recently received the Ontario Society of Environmental Educators Award for “Leadership in Environmental Education”.


  • SILVER MEDAL – 2016 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards
  • WINNER in Children’s category – 2017 Green Book Festival
  • GOLD WINNER – 2016 Nautilus Book Awards. Winner in two categories: Animals and Nature & Middle Grades – Nonfiction
  • FINALIST for Nature (Nonfiction) – 2016 Foreword INDIES Book Awards

Interviews & Articles

  • Listen to Jacob and I being interviewed about the book on the “EarthWorms” podcast with Jean Ponzi.
  • Activities from Big Book were featured in the November 2017 issue of Woman’s Day magazine
  • Listen to Jacob’s interview on County FM with Lynn Pickering from August 2020


“The Big Book of Nature Activities is a welcome book that should be a bible for all adults and children eager to rediscover the very source of our health, joy and spiritual connection.”

– David Suzuki, science broadcaster and environmental activist

“These are understandings humans have passed down over hundreds of generations; now we need to make a conscious effort to ensure our kids can understand and enjoy the gorgeous world around them.”

– Bill McKibben, author, Long Distance and Earth

“The Big Book of Nature Activities” is a fabulous resource that I think every parent and educator in North America should have.
Read full review…

– Katherine Martinko, Senior Writer, TreeHugger

“This book is excellent for suggesting nature-based activities for children who are hanging out at the cottage or the campsite. It is also a fundamental resource for outdoor educators and camp counselors.” Read full review…

– Karen Halley, GreenUP Communications & Marketing Specialist

Book Details

Author: Jacob Rodenburg & Drew Monkman
Publisher: New Society Publishers
Format: Paperback, 384 pages
ISBN: 9780865718029
Published: July 1, 2016

Purchase from: Camp KawarthaNew Society PublishersAmazon.caChapters Indigo