Guest Post by Aimee of Raising The Cameron Clan
Nature walks are a great way to get your family outside and moving. With the growing obesity epidemic in the United States, it is growing more and more important that everyone, both kids and adults, get outside and move.
Not only can nature walks be a great way to get your family outside and moving, it can also become a learning experience for kids of all ages.
Birth -12 Months
Even the tiniest of babies can benefit from a nature walk with mommy. First, you and your baby can benefit from the fresh air. All three of my boys loved to be outside and would calm down almost instantly. There are many times, I would be walking up and down the sidewalk in front of our house trying to comfort my colicky babes.
Nature walks can also be a great time to talk to your baby. As you walk, take the time to talk about the different objects you see. As they get older take the time to point at different objects and call it by name. This is a great way to encourage language development.
12 Months – 24 Months
Your toddler will most likely still be in a stroller, but that does not mean that they can’t get their hands on nature.
Besides continuing to talk to your toddler about everything you see, you can start to make your nature walks a more interactive. As you walk, pick leaves, flowers, grass, acorns, and share those objects with your toddler. Take that flower and talk about the color, texture, size and whatever else you can think of at the time. Let you toddler hold and play with the object. Right now my 17 month old loves to throw acorns and pick leaves as we walk.
2 years to 6 years
When we go on nature walks my three and four year old boys love to collect “stuff.” They collect leaves, acorns, grass, and any other “treasures” they find along the way. The boys have used their treasures to make things like leaf impressions and art creations.
Other ideas for nature walks include:
· Scavenger hunts. Give your child a picture or word list of objects or colors to look for on the walk.
· Nature Rubbings. Bring along crayons and paper and have your child make rubbings of the different textures like trees, drains, leaves, and sidewalks.
· Insect hunt/study. Give your child a magnifying glass to use so they can look at any insects they find up close. You can also bring some type of “home” and collect the insects so you can study them in detail later.
Even the bigger kids can have fun and learn on a nature walk. You can provide older kids with different types of guides and have them identify/classify the different things they see. For example, you can identify/classify leaves, trees, birds, flowers, and grasses.
No matter the age anyone can benefit from a nature walk. So get out there and start exploring!
Aimee is a former teacher turned SAHM of three young boys and has a husband who travels weekly. She writes about her daily adventures, homeschooling, crafting, running, weight loss, cooking, and the life lessons she has learned along the way. You can read about how this mommy is experiencing life with her boys at Raising the Cameron Clan.