As summer approaches, parents sometimes have to scramble to keep their kids entertained during summer vacation. While trips to the pool are always fun, they can also be expensive, and not everyone wants to spend the money on a summer pool pass, especially when there are multiple kids. If you are at a loss for what to do with the kiddos this summer, one fun idea is a nature walk.
Just remember that if you are walking on federal land, such as at a national park, you are prohibited from removing anything. That means no picking flowers or taking home rocks. Likewise, if you are on land that is not your own, be sure to follow any rules and laws that apply before removing anything.
A nature walk is easy to plan, educational, fun, and free! Best of all, it gets you and your children exercising in the fresh air. Follow these easy steps to plan this great outdoor activity with your children.
Your supplies list should consist of at least a notebook and pen or pencil. If you have the other items on hand, bring them, too.
- Notebook. The notebook is great for recording observations, and it can double as a leaf or flower press until you get home.
- Pen or pencil.
- Binoculars and/or magnifying glass.
- Walking sticks. These do not serve much of a purpose unless you are planning a pretty intense walk, but if you can find some nice ones in the backyard, kids always enjoy them.
- Clear, plastic container for bringing home specimens (i.e., new pet frog).
- Digital camera. Snap some pictures of interesting things you see along the way. If you see something you cannot identify, it will make for a great learning opportunity when you get home.
Do some research with your child to prepare for what you might see.
Every region has different species of plants and wildlife, and even those species vary depending on the time of year. Take a little time to do some research with your children before you leave. If you are planning to look for birds, browse the information available at All About Birds or another similar website and help familiarize your kids with the various types you are most likely to see.
If you are going to be checking out plant life, try the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s plant identification guide to get some ideas on what you might see. This is also a great resource for when you return and want to identify what you have seen.
Pack a picnic lunch or some other light refreshments.
Take along a picnic lunch and plan to eat outside. Even if you are only going to be gone a short time, bring a healthy snack so you can sit and just enjoy the moment together. Also, remember to bring plenty of water so you stay hydrated!