I love autumn. The range of colors in the park and along the boulevards makes my heart sing. I love the crispness of the mornings as much as that unexpected and all-too-brief heat wave in the middle of a sunny fall afternoon. Last week, I packed up our whole family of five and trundled them into the woods. As the baby gets older, I hope to live by that wonderful John Muir quote:
Keep close to Nature's heart... and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.
Not only does time spent in nature "wash your spirit clean" as I experience it.... It lends itself to the discovery of an amazing array of natural treasures. Especially in the fall.
My kids are hoarding leaves, acorns, seeds, dried berries, fallen needles, pine cones... the list goes on and on!
We've taken the kids on a hike almost every weekend in the past month. A good bug net, a bug "habitat" (or a plastic container with holes in the top for air and some grass in the bottom), and a willingness to let the kids set the pace make these hikes a lot of fun.
As you might guess, we cover about a mile an hour. Along the way we see, touch, smell, and listen to every inch of the trail.
Whether nature walks are a regular part of your family life or are vying for space on your list of things to do this fall, here are a few activities to make your next nature walk even more fun. (I've pinned them all right here, so take a look there if you'd rather have a visual explanation!)
- Big-Hearted Families Scavenger Hunt: I'm not biased or anything, but this list has the widest array of searchable things. It's also challenging enough for older kids to enjoy. The discussion questions and ideas for further action are totally unique!
- Gather ingredients to make Nature Paint: Flowers, grass, leaves, seeds... and paint. What a wonderfully messy activity!
- Family Fun's Trail Tote: Paint an egg carton with a variety of colors and let it dry. Then try to find a natural treasure to match each color.
- Make a Nature Walk Bracelet: Wrap a piece of tape sticky-side-out around your child's wrist. Stick treasures to it as you walk. Then cover it with saran wrap when you get home.
- Or check out this wonderful list of 12 fall, nature walk crafts: There are so many ways to inspire your kids to love nature!
Enjoy breaking away for a while!