Author: Melissa Droegemueller

Melissa is an elementary school teacher–turned–homeschooling mom with over nine years of teaching experience. She has taught grades 1st through 4th, with a few years working with preschoolers, toddlers, and babies sprinkled in. She is passionate about helping busy parents connect with their kids through play, and she dreams of a world where all children are excited about learning and are being equipped to use their unique gifts to make a big difference in their communities.
12 Jungle Books for Kids

12 Jungle Books for Kids

If you are putting together a jungle or rain forest unit study for your children, a stack of bright colorful picture books is always a great place to start! Since most of our kids are unlikely to experience a tropical rain forest during their childhood, these jungle books for kids are just what you need.


A quick note:

You’ll notice that most of these books are about rain forests. Since all jungles are forests, this is a great conversation to have with your kids who can understand. “Jungle” is a casual term, while “rainforest” is the more scientific one.


Jungle and Rain Forest Books for Kids

12 Jungle Books for Kids

(Reminder: Rolling Prairie Readers uses affiliate links at no additional cost to you. You can see our full disclosure policy here.)

Start with a broad non-fiction book that introduces different aspects of the tropical habitat.

Our library had Tropical Climates by Cath Senker.

Other good non-fiction books are:

We Both Read About the Rain Forest by Heather Johnanasen and Sindy McKay

Rain Forests: A Magic Tree House Research Guide by Will and Mary Pope Osborne

In the Rain Forest by Catherine Nichols

Up a Rainforest Tree by Carole Telford and Rod Tehodorou

Predators in the Rain Forest by Saviour Pirotta

Our kids also enjoy reading fiction jungle books! Here are some of our favorites:

Over in the Jungle: A Rainforest Rhyme by Marianne Berkes

“Slowly,  Slowly,  Slowly,” Said the Sloth by Eric Carle.

The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest by Lynne Cherry

We’re Roaming the Rainforest by Laurie Krebs

 

Secrets of the Rainforest: A Shine a Light Book

By the way, have you heard of cloud forests? I picked up this book at the library, all about the Monteverde Cloud Forest in Costa Rica:

The Forest in the Clouds by Sneed B. Collard III


And one “eh” book:

Most lists of recommended jungle books for kids include Rumble in the Jungle by Giles Andreae. And while it is a completely cute book, I just can’t get over the fact that (gasp!) it’s not even about jungle animals. In case you want to check it out for yourself, click here:


If you have a favorite jungle book, I would love for you to leave it in the comments! And if you’re looking for any jungle-related learning activities, be sure to check our latest family activity guide, now available in The Play School Club.

Jungle Habitat Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers


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12 Fun Jungle Books for Kids

13 Desert Books for Kids

13 Desert Books for Kids

Growing up in California and Texas, learning about the desert never really appealed to me. It’s dry and dusty, everything is brown, and there are lots of poisonous plants and animals waiting to get you. At least, that’s what I thought. When I sat down to make our desert-themed Family Activity Guide for The Play School Club, I quickly discovered just how fascinating the desert really is! And what’s really neat is that every continent has at least one desert, and they all have unique qualities, including a variety of plants and animals that aren’t found anywhere else in the world! Next time you go to the library, check out these desert books for kids.

13 FUN Desert Books for Kids

13 Desert Books for Kids

(Reminder: Rolling Prairie Readers uses affiliate links at no additional cost to you. You can see our full disclosure policy here.)

Desert Giant: The World of the Saguaro Cactus by Barbara Bash

Animals in the Desert by Elisabeth De Lambilly-Bresson

Desert by DK Publishing

Seasons of the Desert Biome by Shirley Duke

Desert Night Desert Day by Anthony D. Fredericks

Cactus Hotel by Brenda Z. Guiberson

A Walk in the Desert by Rebecca L. Johnson

Desert Dwellers (board book) by Dr. Holly Karapetkova

The Three Little Javelinas by Susan Lowell

A Dry Place by Catherine Nichols

Hot Deserts by Rose Pipes

Why Oh Why Are Deserts Dry? by Tish Rabe

There Was a Coyote Who Swallowed a Flea by Jennifer Ward


Desert Habitat Activities for Kids

Check out our Desert Family Activity Guide, now available in The Play School Club!

With just one click of the button, you can access our downloadable guide, with 40 hands-on learning ideas, recommended books for your next library trip and a master list of materials (most items are already in your house!).

WOULDN’T IT BE NICE TO:

  • have a ready list of simple activities to do together?
  • connect with your children through play?
  • spend family time creating memories rather than planning them?

Be sure to share your favorite desert books for kids in the comments below!

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desert books for kids

Rocky Ridge Farm: a Laura Ingalls Wilder site in Mansfield, Missouri

Rocky Ridge Farm: a Laura Ingalls Wilder site in Mansfield, Missouri

At the beginning of the year, we asked our girls to tell us one thing they wanted to do together as a family. Our oldest daughter picked rock-climbing for her activity. Our younger daughter told us she wanted to visit another Laura Ingalls Wilder site.

Two years ago, we traveled to the Ingalls Homestead in DeSmet, South Dakota. Last year, we stopped by the Masters Hotel in Burr Oak, Iowa on our way north to Wisconsin. According to our youngest, it’s become a bit of a tradition!

When we realized that our family travels would bring us less than two hours away from Laura’s Rocky Ridge Farm in Mansfield, Missouri — well, we knew we had to go.

(Note: This adventure was not sponsored, and all opinions shared here are my own.) 

Laura Ingalls Wilder | Mansfield, Missouri

We arrived on a beautiful Saturday morning. All four of us were immediately impressed by the big, beautiful building that houses the museum and gift shop. We purchased our tickets and were invited into a small movie theater to watch a short, 10-minute video about Laura’s life in Mansfield.

Exciting the theater, we entered into a large room with 25-30 wonderful exhibits. We saw Pa’s fiddle, some of Laura’s clothing, and even a plate that survived a house fire early in the Wilders’ marriage. My girls especially loved the timeline running around the top of the room!

(Note: photos are not allowed inside the museum or either of the Wilder homes.)

Once we had our fill of the museum, we moved on to the gift shop. Since we have all the original Little House books (and some of the picture book versions), we told the kids they could each pick out a hat. Our oldest chose a pretty pink bonnet and our youngest (tactile learner) was immediately drawn to the coonskin caps. I also purchased a Rocky Ridge Farm magnet to add to our “adventure collection” on our fridge at home.

Rocky Ridge Farm | Mansfield, Missouri

Rocky Ridge Farm Tours

We had a picnic lunch outside before heading up the hill to tour the white Farm House. Our docent was incredibly knowledgeable and answered lots of questions from the entire group. I was especially fascinated by Laura’s library and writing area! I couldn’t stop staring at all the incredible wood accents throughout the house. It was definitely a comfortable home for the Wilders, which must have been a relief after Laura’s transient childhood.

From the Farm House, we took a paved trail (¾ mile, according to the gift shop clerk) “over the ridge” to the beautiful modern Rock House. We were told their daughter Rose had built for them after her success as a published author. (According to our docent, she rented the Farm House from her parents while they lived in the Rock House.) Honestly, as lovely as the Rock House is, I completely identified with Laura’s love for the Farm House and understood why she and Almanzo eventually moved back.

We loved our time out at Rocky Ridge Farm, despite the summer heat and Missouri humidity. I was glad it was our third location visit. Our first visit to the DeSmet Homestead “hooked” our kids on the excitement of living a prairie life. They’ve been totally engaged at the other two sites we’ve visited, despite the more adult exhibits and details.

Before leaving Mansfield, I asked my husband to drive by the cemetery. It was such a meaningful experience when we visited the Ingalls’ graves DeSmet, and I wanted to pay our respects to the Wilders. As famous and familiar as Laura and Almanzo are to us, it was humbling to see them buried in this small town cemetery just like their neighbors.

If you or your children love the Little House series, I highly recommend a visit to Rocky Ridge Farm, where Laura wrote her stories and lived out the last years of her life.