There are few things I like more than a long hike in the woods. With my husband and children along, a simple day-hike turns into an adventure of discovery.
Children meet nature with enthusiasm, runing down the trail, climbing over fallen trees and peering at tiny insects. My boys are no exception - leaping, crawling and scampering their way through the forrest. Their strong desire to connect with nature often means pockets are filled with nature's treasures including, but definetly not limited to: acorns, feathers, leaves, and pebbles, to be reverently placed on our nature table later that evening.
These times of enthusiasm can also be teachable moments to explain stewardship and preservation of natural resources. On our most recent hike, the boys learned that Mr. Salamander loves his home in the forrest and needs to remain in his habitat, not brought to ours. At one point Aidan so wanted to bring home a large toadstool to put on our nature table - What a messy transport that would have been! But in the end, he was glad to leave it, knowing it would continue to live and that other hikers would have the chance to discover it themselves.
Here are some of fun activities for your next hike:
Find some honeysuckle and teach your little one to taste the sweet juice within.
Play "Simon Says" down the trail using animal motions (i.e. jump like a rabbit, scamper like a squirrel, flit like a bird, etc.)
Sit still and count how many different bird songs you can hear in a 3 minute time span.
Meet A Tree (Pick a tree & observe it... Do your arms fit around it? Is the bark rough or soft? where do the roots lead? Does it have leaves or needles? Is there evidence that an animal has been near the tree? etc.)
Enjoy your weekend and don't forget to play, explore and wonder in The Great Outdoors!
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