Happy Spring! Okay, so I know it isn’t technically spring, but I am soaking up every ounce of warm weather and sunshine that Mother Nature is graciously gifting us! It feels as though February is offering us a taste of Spring after what feels like a very long winter.
This past Christmas, Sloane found a pair of binoculars in her stocking. She has loved using them to look out the back door and the living room windows for deer and birds in the yard. So, when we had that first nice day a few weeks back I suggested we go on a nature hike. Unsure of what a nature hike entailed, she was hesitant to go, but after that first day she has been asking for a nature hike almost daily, and I am happy to comply!
We are fortunate enough to live in an area full of parks, preserves, and water to explore, but a nature hike doesn’t have to be a big outing; there is plenty to see right in your own backyard! Being outside is ideal for curiosity and exploration, and it naturally encourages active play. It’s a great way to get up and moving, for both the kids and the adults.
Before Sloane and I head out on a nature hike we like to take a minute to talk about all of the different things we are going to look for. This time of year that list usually includes moss on rocks, birds in trees, and animal footprints in the mud. Then we put on our boots and hit the trails (this time of year with all of the melting snow and rain I definitely recommend rainboots – and beware the deep and sticky mud!).
I love how Sloane will call me over to show me something I would have otherwise walked right passed. Right now she is in a “why?” phase, so whatever she finds turns into a game of “21 Questions”, but I love how her natural curiosity keeps me present in the moment (something I am actively working on).
If your kids are a little bit older a fun addition to any nature hike is a scavenger hunt, like this free printable https://www.makeandtakes.com/wp-content/uploads/HikingScavengerHunt.pdf
Or if your family enjoys a little friendly competition, check out these Nature Bingo cards from the Massachusetts Audubon Society https://www.massaudubon.org/get-outdoors/young-explorers/explore-a-sanctuary/nature-bingo
written by: Jessica Dooley