We held school at the park again today. With temperatures in the high 60s (20-21C), we would have been fools to coop the kids up inside. Instead, we gathered lunch boxes and strollers and went for a nature hike.
The kids had a ball walking “through the forest”. The two older ones ran ahead, laughing and screaming together as their little feet pounded the blacktopped path. One would discover something exciting along the way, and stop to look more closely at it. The other would run back and stop, a bit breathless, to look at what had caught the first one’s attention. Then they would return to us, report on their discovery, and then continue reconnaissance duty up ahead of the party. The youngest rode in his stroller, enjoying the view, while my littler one alternately walked with the bigger kids and rode on Nana’s hip.
On our outing, we looked for different colored leaves, since Autumn is just starting to peek out on the trees. The kids also found some interesting sticks, rocks and flowers. We collected these in a bucket, and saved them for an activity after the walk.
Just off the path, we discovered a
[pile of extra gravel for the park district] mountain, and spent a few minutes climbing it. We also peered over a small bridge, examined a leaning tree, and giggled at some fungus that SC declared “looked like throw-up”. (S and I were secretly pleased that the kids found it too icky to touch. It saved us a lot of trouble.)
After the walk, we took our bucket of treasures back to the picnic pavilion. The kids spread the leaves and flowers out on a table. We glued some of the leaves down to construction paper, and others we made prints of by putting a sheet of paper over them and then rubbing crayon on top.
The things you are certain will grab their attention might go completely unnoticed, but children will dwell tirelessly on other things you never even considered.