I really can’t say how much it helps me to get outside and take a walk. Even with the kids.
It’s funny though, because I tend to have a love-hate relationship with the great outdoors. I want to be a naturalist, but I don’t care for the sweating or all the prepping that can come with taking little children on 1-mile excursions. I try to pack light, but who wants to be ½ mile from the car when a kid has a diaper explosion and you’re diaperless?
But, still, even when I trudge through the hard parts and even though I realize there’s a good chance I’m carrying someone back, I still feel better when we’ve taken a long walk outside. I prefer the woods, or at least the feeling of woods, rather than our suburban, sidewalk-less neighborhood. It’s more peaceful and gives the kids more freedom to run ahead and explore in the bushes without worrying about cars whizzing by.
So, if you want to be an outdoorsy person, but aren’t know you’re not alone. Things may be a little new the first few times, but you’ll get the hang of it. You’ll learn it’s okay to just roll with whatever comes and that, by and large, nothing terrible is going to happen. You might just leave some stress behind you.
Here’s a few guided-nature walks we’ve been doing this fall:
Backyard Nature Walk
Keeping it simple. What can we find in our yard that tells us fall is here? If we look closely, can we find acorns? Pine cones? Mushrooms?
Do we hear birds? Here, most of our birds go away during the hot summer months and in the last few weeks we’ve started to see (and hear) some old friends return.
Monarch Butterflies? It’s the fourth generation of these creatures, born in September and October, that migrate to warmer climates for the winter. Perhaps you’ll see some pass your way—we saw one just today!
How does the air feel? Can we see the effects of the wind?
Remember, nature walks aren’t only about what we can see with our eyes or pick up with our hands. Tap into your other senses to look beyond what you see.
The Leaf Game
How many leaves can you find? What’s the biggest leaf you can find? The smallest?
Can you find leaves that are red, yellow, orange, or brown? (Sadly, we don’t get many orange or red leaves here.)
If you have a large variety of trees in your backyard or walking paths, gather a couple of leaves from a sampling of different trees. You can press the leaves for bookmarks, make a leaf bunting, or identify the types of leaves with help from a book. You could even laminate pressed leaves on cardstock to use in different activities.
Can you find a natural object for every color of the rainbow? This could be a little more of a challenge to find each color, but if you look closely I bet you could.
Or, you can make it a challenge each time you go outside you’ll be on the lookout for a color to add to your rainbow collection. Perhaps you’ll find a pink flower in a flower bed at the doctor’s office or purple berries in a shrub at a park.