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Let us go for a Nature Walk!

Going on a nature walk with your child/children is an excellent way to instigate love and gratitude for the natural world!


Every walk is an opportunity for children to learn about the natural world. I and my 3 year old relish our everyday nature walk in the neighbourhood park because there is always something new to explore.

She likes to merely: 

  1. Roll over the grass and runs around; 
  2. Tries to catch a butterfly; 
  3. Admires the plants and flowers; 
  4. Enjoys digging the mud out with her tiny little fingers; 
  5. Loves to jump and splash water out form the puddles on a rainy day; 
  6. Some days she just wants to hoard the pebbles, stones, leaves, bird feathers and any other fascinating find. 
We collect all this in her nature basket and later return home and explore using a magnifying glass! 



We always try to make an attempt to extend our nature walk experience to another level by turning it into an active experience. The whole idea is to captive the imagination and creativity of children by giving them a specific quest when involved in a nature walk. They do this by creating some kind of a scrap book or collection from their discoveries in a discovery box; whatever way it interests them.You might be pleasantly shocked to discover you have opened up a whole new world to a child and they will often continue with their new found quest long after the initial nature walk is over.

The best part of these walks is that it may require little to no preparation, just a willingness to stroll at a child’s pace and explore along the way.

As you explore your neighbourhood:

  1. Be open to the miracle of observing small details and new growth. 
  2. Leave electronic toys at home so that children can focus on the world around them. 
  3. Bring paper and crayons so children can draw what they see. 
  4. Walk at different times of the day or evening to increase your chances of seeing something new. 
  5. Ask, “What’s different about what you see today?” each time you and your child walk outside. 
  6. Model using all five senses. You might say, “I’m seeing the big clouds,” “I’m touching the wet grass,” “I’m hearing the jets of an airplane,” or “I’m smelling the fallen petals of the flowers.” It’s not safe to taste many things outdoors, but you can “taste” the air. 
  7. Carry along an inexpensive magnifying glass so children can get up close and personal with nature.


Make dressing for the weather part of the learning experience by singing songs about the weather as you and your child put on sunscreen, hats, or several layers of clothing. Try “Rain Rain Go Away,” “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” or “Mr. Sun”.

Let your child work to figure out how to zip a zipper or put on boots just long enough so she can learn these tasks and not so long that she becomes frustrated.

Notice the weather!

On the walk, use your magnifying glass to look closely at drops of rain hanging from a leaf. If it has recently rained, take a medicine dropper so your child can suck up rain from puddles and squirt it back out again. Watch where the water flows and ask, “I wonder where it will go from here?” If it is sunny, make shadows with your body or jump over the shadow of a family member. Use sidewalk chalk to draw the shapes of the clouds you see. 



Watch out for animals!

Use your magnifying glass to look closely at small non-poisonous spiders, roly-polies, worms, and any non-stinging insect that will hold still long enough. Ask your child to show you how the worm or ant moves, and join in as he wiggles or crawls. Ask your child to think about how well animals move even though their bodies are so different from our own.

Count the number of larger animals you see on your walk. Look for birds in bushes and on electric lines. Are there squirrels in the trees, or dogs going for a walk around the block? Talk with your child about what these animals are doing. Try to associate the animal discoveries with the books “One rainy day we observed the Chameleon changing its colour as it moved; once we were back home we quickly put our hands on Eric Carl, The Mixed-up Chameleon and discussed about it at length”.



Let’s Go Green!

Look closely at the different shapes, sizes, and structures of leaves and flowers (but watch out for thorns). Collect leaf shapes and then make rubbings of different types of leaves. To do this, put a piece of paper over a leaf resting on a hard surface, then rub or wipe the paper with a crayon held sideways to reveal the leaf’s veins and edges. You can also ask your child to measure how tall a plant is in relation to her body (“This bush is as tall as my knee”). 


Observe changes in the life cycle of a plant. If a plant has a bud on it, ask your child to guess how many days it will take to open. Then count the days as you revisit the plant on your walks. If your children are old enough, have them record their findings in a notebook.

Capture It!

Give your child an old camera to take pictures of things they find interesting on the walk. It will always be interesting to see your child’s perspective.

Let’s HEAR!

Take a walk just to listen. You don’t have to gather anything or even make note of what you hear. As you walk, ask your child/children what sounds they hear and what do they think made the sounds. Every so often point out sounds you hear, like the wind rustling in the trees or birds hopping through leaves on the ground.

The learning possibilities are endless!

Books

Some books on Nature which can be a fabulous READ for young minds!

  1. The Wump World:A charming tale about taking care of our planet by Bill Peet. 
  2. The Curious Garden:Creating a better world, garden by garden by Peter Brown. 
  3. The Little House:A heartwarming story brimming with nostalgia and cozy illustrations by Virginia Lee Burtons. 
  4. The Water Hole:Exquisite illustrations and a timeless theme by Graeme Base. 
  5. On Meadowview Street:Where are the meadows on Meadowview Street? By Henry Cole. and then it’s spring:Spring presented in a beautiful, unique manner by Julia Fogliano. 
  6. Just A Dream:Our actions today decide the fate of tomorrow by Chris Van Allsburg’s. 
  7. Owl Moon:An incredible encounter in the wild by Jane Yolen. 
  8. A Seed is Sleepy:A wonderful tool for learning about plants and their life cycle by Dianna Hutts Aston Sylvia Long.