Welcome to my Spring Series called “Bringing Spring into your Homeschool”. Today’s post is by Leah about getting outside for a nature walk and what to do to prepare. Check out her bio below and enjoy reading! Also make sure to check out other posts in this series and guest author bios by clicking on “Bringing Spring into your Homeschool” under Blog in the menu.
Take a Spring Nature Walk
Written by Leah | May 2, 2018
My name is Leah from The Outside Thinkers. I am an unexpected homeschooler who focuses on nature and family in my homeschool. My homeschooling journey has been going on for four years, and keeps growing everyday with our new experiences. The goal of my blog is to help families create time for the fun stuff in their homeschool. My guest post is about taking a spring nature walk.
In southeastern Virginia spring is finally springing. I have been waking up in the morning to birds chirping outside, and it is about time! Winter keeps coming back and visiting just to let us know it is still there, but I think it may finally be gone for good. Nature walks can happen any time of year, but spring is one of my favorite times to take a nature walk. You can see here about our nature walks and nature studies.
Have you ever taken a nature walk? If you don’t think you have, you probably have and didn’t even know it! A nature walk is simply a walk in nature with the focus being on observing and learning about something. The only difference in just taking a walk, and taking a nature walk, is the focus. Sometimes nature walks don’t happen how you want them to, like in our Puddle Jumping Nature Walk, but they can still be fun!
If this is your first time setting the stage for a nature walk, let the kids take the lead. If you have been outside with the kids lately, recognize what they have noticed. Was it the trees starting to bud? Maybe it was the dandelions starting to seed. It could have even been something as simple as noticing that there is more green around them. If you have time to prepare for the walk in advance, check out a book from the library about spring.
Things to Pack for Your Spring Nature Walk
Being new to taking a nature walk you may not know what to bring. If you have younger kids under five years old, it is good to bring snacks, water, tweezers, and something to collect treasures in. Keep it simple. The more you pack, the more you have to carry!
If your children are a little older you can bring the same items as above, plus a sketch pad, pencils, binoculars, and maybe a camera. If the focus is something in particular, such as trees, you can bring a tree field guide. Remember to pack only what you can carry, and only what you think your kids will actually use. I tend to bring sketchpads in hopes of them wanting to stop and sketch. In reality, they have actually only participated in that one time in all of our nature walks! They like to bring treasures home to draw and study.
Start Your Nature Walk
Pick a place to do your nature walk. Do you have a favorite park or place you like to go to see nature? If not, choose somewhere that you won’t get lost. I remember the first time I tried to take my then 4 and almost 2 year old on a nature walk in the woods. It was a trail but somehow I got turned around. It was getting dark and I started to worry about finding my way out. Luckily we found our way, but if I don’t know the area, I plan a shorter walk and make sure I know my way.
What to Look for on your Spring Nature Walk
Spring is full of amazing things. There are wildflowers everywhere, flowers blooming, trees budding, and insects coming out to enjoy the weather. When thinking of wildflowers what do you picture? I have always pictured a field of big, tall flowers of all colors. Surprisingly you can find wildflowers right in your yard! There are a lot of varieties that sprout just about everywhere. Think of dandelions and buttercups. These are wildflowers and a great thing to keep an eye out for during your walk.
If you enjoy searching for bugs, gently turn over larger objects in search of them. Just make sure everything gets put back in its place. Remind your family that they are in the bugs’ home and to leave everything as they found it. If bugs are caught, it is best to examine them and then put them back unless they are already dead.
Other items to look for can include moss, birds, and any other thing that catches your eye. The possibilities are endless on what you may come across in your spring nature walk. The main goal is to enjoy yourselves. Remember that when with kids, something is bound to happen that is unexpected. Take it in stride, and don’t let it ruin your time. When are you planning your spring nature walk for?
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Do you go on nature walks? What do you like to do when on them? Share in the comments below!