Walking is a great activity to do as a family. You can simply take a stroll around the block, of course, but it is far more interesting to do a nature walk. This takes things to another level. Rather than just get some exercise, you pause to appreciate the sights and smells along the way.
Children are naturally curious and pay attention to their surroundings. It’s quite an adventure to take children into a forest or through a park. They will enjoy taking a closer look at an insect or listening to a bird’s call.
To help children pay explore the world around them, you can also introduce some simple activities on your walk.
Take a camera with you and try to capture photos that follow a theme. For example, you might try to take a dozen photographs of red things. These could include red leaves in fall, a ladybug and a reddish rock. You might try finding ten different types of leaves or see how many heart shapes you can find in the forest. These photos can be printed and put into a scrapbook to remember your trek.
Leaf rubbings are another way to preserve memories and get a closer look at nature. Pick up several interesting leaves during your walk. The best ones for rubbings will have thick, raised veins. When you get home, lay the leaves upside down on a table. Place a piece of blank paper over them. Rub the side of a crayon over the paper. The veins will cause darker lines to appear and you can recreate the shape of the leaf. These rubbings can go into a nature book or you can use them to create unique birthday cards or wall hangings.
Collecting a few flowers to press later is another good activity. Only take one or two of each bloom, leaving the plants unharmed. You want to let other people enjoy the beauty, too. At home, put some newspaper inside a heavy book and lay your flowers on it. Cover the flowers with two or three layers of newspaper and close the book. Stack a couple of heavy books or bricks on top to help press the flowers. Now you have to be patient and leave them for three weeks or so. When the book is opened again, children will be delighted to find the pressed and dried flowers, which can then be used in crafts.
Children will also enjoy taking a notebook with them and sketching or painting interesting things that they find. Insects or animals are good things to draw, since you can’t press them in a book.
Nature walks make a simple trek through the woods special. Children will be on the lookout for whatever you are seeking and will enjoy the walk even more. For those who tend to complain about walking, looking for a heart shaped leaf or rock will keep their mind off their feet. Just think of a quest or activity before each walk and watch them enjoy it.