Friday, March 1, 2013

Nature Meanders With Children

Last week I blogged about nature walks with toddlers. Today, I encourage you to consider a different kind of experience in nature- what I'll call the "Nature Meander." Unlike a walk, which may have a specific destination or goal, the meander involves having no plan, no destination in mind, and no goal.

Nature Meanders are perfect for toddlers who tend to meander anyway. They stop to watch a trail of ants walk in their path, pick every flower they see, and otherwise notice the things adults tend to miss. By the time they reach the upper elementary grades, though, many children stop noticing these little details, unless free time in nature is a regular part of their lives.

So head out into the woods or desert, to a city park, or along the beach and just see where your kids' interests take you. Maybe you'll walk half a mile. Or maybe you'll get to know one hundred square feet of an area really well. Maybe you'll see vultures eating a dead fish, or collect loads of interesting rocks that weigh down your pockets. Or maybe you'll spend an hour skipping those rocks across a pond. Let your children guide you. You might be surprised by what you discover together.

When was the last time you and your kids spent time meandering. What did you discover?

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