Nature Walk Around the Block
It can be intimidating to think of incorporating nature walks into our daily and weekly rhythms. The thought of packing up supplies, finding an inspiring natural space to walk, and keeping kids engaged on that walk can be overwhelming. The photos below are from a recent morning nature walk I shared with three of our kids. A few of the things they explored included water displacement and dynamics, dried plant identification, gross-motor movement, and patterns in nature.
In other words, we went for a walk around the block. The kids splashed in puddles, picked up dried flower heads, pointed out the dried burdock patch, talked about the cool patterns on the trees that we walked by, climbed deciduous and coniferous trees, ran and jumped. They got fresh air, connected with nature – and with their local community, smiling at the people we passed by. All of this to say, don't let the idea of a perfect nature walk get in the way of getting outdoors. These little bodies have huge minds and hearts and will find ways to connect with nature, even in a city neighbourhood. Even on a 10-30 minute walk.
Here are a few things children can connect with on a neighbourhood nature walk:
- trees - try to identify them, compare bark and banching patterns
- plants - look for new life popping up or dried remnants of the season past
- birds - snap photos or sketch the birds you see and identify them when you get home
- squirrels and chipmunks - compare and contrast the two
- neighbourhood animals like cats and dogs
- seeds - collect and identify them, talk about seed dispersal
- tracks - grab or print off a track guide and do some investigating
- patterns, colours, textures, smells - it's a sensory experience!
Have fun on your neighborhood nature walk this week! For more information on engaging kids in nature through nature walks, see Tiny Peasant's e-book Wild Walks: Engaging Children in the Natural World. Pick up your copy of the Spring 2016 EcoParent Magazine and flip to Who are the Critters in your Neighborhood? for great info on identifying local city wildlife. Check in with us on Facebook to tell us about your walks this spring.
This is the second article in a series. Head over and check out part one, Winter Nature Walks.