Ok….its six, but five sounded better! Nature walks and spring go together like peanut butter and jelly. However, if you are like me, a month will go by before you make it out to a park for more then a trip to the playground! Over the past few years, I have realized though that those moments out in the open nature are some of the best we have! The girls explore, learn, and have fun. The time we have had together outside has lead me to learn a few tips to make these moments better and less stressful! Here are some of those tips that made our outside time better:
1) Find Your Spot: I think that one of the most important things to do is find a go-to place for your family! We like to go out by Lake Erie. My mom has a park they go to by a river. Another blogger goes and visits the ocean. There is another blogger heads out to spend time in a field of Bluebells. There are literally a ton of wonderful places that you could go, but find that one place that you know will always deliver a good time for you! That way, when the time is right, you will know just where to go!
2) Keep things Simple: There are a million ideas out there of wonderful things that you can do while out exploring nature. However, most of the time simple is better. I have tried looking for shapes, finding the alphabet in nature, searching for certain birds, rocks, leaves, and even printing out a scavenger hunts. These things can be fun, but mostly they really just add stress. Requiring a person to find something while outside makes it a task rather then an exploration. Nature is always changing and so there is always something new. So dont stress trying to find the perfect activity to take on a nature walk, just go out!
3) Pack Light: When we started going out for nature walks, I would pack a backpack with field guilds, paper and colored pencils for sketching, nets, plastic bags, first aid kit, wipes, water, snacks, magnifying glass, and other odds and ends. Whew! Do you how much of that we used- almost none! I just ended up feeling like a pack mule for the hour or so we were outside.We arent hikers by nature, I found that most of the time we didnt go that far from the car, so many of those things I didnt need to try and keep track of it. We left alot of it in the car and before I knew it we were down to about nothing! Things got alot easier and more fun for everyone. All we really need is water (usually leave it in the car while we walk), a snack if we are close to a meal, band aids, wipes (for after), and most of all the camera (the main thing I carry)! All the other stuff we really just didnt need. Research about what we saw was easier done at home from a picture, the treasures can sit on the floor of the car until we get home, and we use the wipes when we are all done! So keep it simple!
4) Dont Over Plan: Here, where we live the weather changes all the time, so we tend to find it better to just go when the weather permits. Nothing is more fun, and inspires more excitement then the announcement that you are going out! We love to just jump outside. It refreshes everyone and learning seems real. Sometimes we plant to look for something that we are learning about, but mostly we just see what we see! Sometime this will lead to another trail of learning!
5) Dont Stay on the Path: Unless of course there is alot of poison ivy! 😉 But honestly, be willing to head into the unknown and the messy! Expect that you will get messy and go with it! Nature walks are all about the smells, the sounds, the feel, and the sights! So dig right in and live it. Messy means you are learning something for real and exploring off the beaten path will make the most lasting impression!
6) Take Your Time: Little ones love to look and look! That means there is alot of stopping, touching, and wandering! That’s perfect! Dont rush it. Stay a while or a little, just follow the child! This is will allow you to take those learning moments as they come and to see things that you will not want to miss!
So there are my tips! We love our moments out in nature! Looking at everything and I think that it is something that anyone can do, even if you arent nature people like me! 🙂 I would love to have a few more tips for our time outside though, so share your ideas! What do you do while you are out exploring? Do you have tried and true tips for making nature an amazing experience for all?