A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I took our kids on a hike and nature walk at a nearby environmental center. We spent a few hours together exercising, exploring, and simply enjoying being outdoors.
The kids surprised us and hiked almost two miles without complaint. We picnicked along the way, and were fortunate to encounter much wildlife. My eldest even caught his first snake (a harmless worm snake) in a rotten log. Both boys found and caught toads and collected an assortment of treasures to bring home with us.
Often on my husband’s days off we end up driving around town doing errands, maybe popping in the science center for a quick visit, and then back home again for afternoon naps. It’s a predictable routine we have down well. And while I don’t hate it, it isn’t exactly memorable or rejuvenating.
But whenever we ditch the store-hopping-norm and venture out into the woods or splash around in a river, magic happens.
It’s a subtle magic, but it’s there.
It fills eyes with wonder as we all slow down to take in our surroundings. It teaches us to appreciate the quiet solitude that can only be found outdoors. It catches you off guard in the form of an eagle swooping high above or comes in slowly while bending low to watch a brightly colored beetle scurrying along a log.
What is found out of doors, away from the routine and away from man-made structures cannot be replicated in equal measure in a book or a documentary or a museum. Our children need towering trees, wild water, and long paths that stretch their legs as well as their imaginations.
“TV has often given children and adults the false illusion that they have really seen something because they have seen it on the box. Take the ocean. A child may watch a program on tides and waves. But his true scientific interest and understanding will not be like that of the child who has explored and lived on a beach for a couple of weeks.”
–For the Children’s Sake
The temptation can be to overcomplicate things and think that making time in nature a priority means a lot of fuss, travel, or money. But in reality it doesn’t have to mean any of those things.
Become familiar with the wild areas around you. Find a special spot in stream to adopt and plan to take a picnic there. Take a walk once a week on a greenway or at a nature center. Make plans to set aside a day to venture further to a state park or scenic natural site.
This post is the start to a series on the real magic kingdom. The one nearby that doesn’t cost a thing.
Let’s commit to getting our kids into the outdoors this summer!
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More to Come in the Series:
- One Thing Our Children Need This Summer
- Day Hiking with Kids & Recipes for the Trail
- Kids in the Outdoors: Fears & Safety
- 3 Reasons to Explore Wild Water with Kids & Tips to Keep Everyone Safe and Having Fun
- Natural Remedies Round-Up
- Bringing the Outdoors Home: Ideas for Continued Learning
- Favorite Resources