Lace Up Those Boots Kids, We're Going for a Nature Hunt!

I love to be outside. I so appreciate the expansiveness of nature and its juxtaposition against the tiny details you find if you look at anything up close. An anthill under a leaf, the pattern of veins on a leaf, the scent of a butterscotch pine...there's just so much to find. Of course, I also love the capacity of nature to let my children RUN! After a day--even an hour--outdoors they're ready for a bit of quiet time (something that seems to come all too infrequently!).

Yesterday we all seemed to be getting on each other's nerves and it was obviously time for a good outing so we headed to the park to squeeze a little more fun out of summer before school starts. As the kids played and the baby tried to supplement her diet with mouthfuls of bark mulch I put together a list of a few things I thought the children would be able to find if they kept a sharp eye out on a walk around the park. I added illustrations for the non-reader in our group, and check-boxes to mark off as we found each item. My list included a duck, an animal's home, a new type of bug, a flower bud, and a footprint. If you do this, keep in mind the things that you find at your park, the time of year, etc, to ensure that you're looking for things you might actually be able to find!

We had a lovely time looking for each item, and actually managed to find them well as a few things that weren't on our original list, but that we would've walked past if we weren't on the hunt for neat stuff! In the end, Josie added a number of things to our list, including an interesting sort of plum tree and the pea seeds that Jasper spotted.

What do you enjoy doing with your children to bring them closer to nature? Are you doing anything special to savor these last few days of summer?
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