WNJ Exclusive: Ways to Enjoy Nature with Your Kids
Photo Credit: longisland.mommypoppins.com
1. Backyard Activities
If you think your backyard has little to offer, you couldn’t be further from the truth. Plant a garden with your kids. They’ll be able to learn plenty of wonderful lessons during gardening activities. It will also give them an opportunity to develop their observational skills as they watch plants progress from one phase to the next. You could also place a log on a spot of bare ground and wait a few days to find out which creatures have made a home underneath.
2. Moonlight Hike
Taking a walk in the night is a completely different experience from daytime hiking. Be sure the route you intend to walk along is safe beforehand. Your kids will be thrilled to see many things at night that aren’t seen during the day. Sighting stars in the sky and trying to identify the constellations is a lot of fun. Be alert for sounds from nocturnal birds, insects and other creatures. It makes for a refreshingly different symphony. A moonlight hike is an excellent way to experience how a familiar setting can transform into a totally different environment.
3. Nature Walk
This is a relaxing way of getting closer to nature. Plan to take a walk that will take you through a field, park or woodlands. If you have a nature trail in your neighborhood, this provides an excellent route for a nature walk. You’ll have lots of opportunities to sight interesting birds, plants, small animals and landscape features as you walk along. Butterflies and insects are usually widely available and easy to sight. If you’re lucky, you may spot a bird building a nest or feeding its nestlings. You may even come across a caterpillar pupating into a butterfly or spot some just hatched bird eggs. Such phases of existence are usually taught in online biology degree and science programs. However, seeing them in real time mode is a thrilling experience and helps to drive the lesson home more effectively.
Most people are lucky to have parks and recreation departments in their municipality. Find out what activities have been planned for families. Parks have a great deal to offer for nature lovers. In most cases, parks and recreation departments have free or reasonably priced programs for families. Participating in these activities allows you to enjoy much of what nature has to offer.
5. Scavenger Hunt
This is an excellent idea that you can implement in your backyard, on the beach or in some field. Scavenger hunts are engaging and exciting. You never know what you’ll scoop during your excursions. As you plan a scavenger hunt, you may want to list down likely objects to be unearthed. As the hunt gets underway, everybody will have plenty of opportunity to engage with nature and discuss their finds.
Going Wild: How to Enjoy Nature with Your Kids - Wherever You Like. (2012) EcoHearth.
Ten Ways for Families to Enjoy Nature. (2011) Monkey Butt Junction.