I encourage my kids to be as active as possible; none of them are into sports so we find our fitness activities elsewhere. One way I love to get my kids moving is by taking them on a nature walk/hike.We’ve been to lots of different spots in the Delaware Valley, all generally easy for toddlers and up to walk. The Audubon Society in Millgrove Pa is a recent favorite, not to mention free. Don’t forget to check out yesterday’s photos of our trip to Bartram’s Garden in Philadelphia, also a free place to visit.
Such a cute mushroom, and probably poisonous. This was the perfect opportunity to talk about not touching everything we find out in the woods in case it’s poisonous or could cause a skin rash like poison ivy.
Note the shoes. Sturdy shoes are a must for walking and hiking. The child on the right wanted to wear her flip flops which I didn’t permit.
Look for signs of changing seasons even if you’re walking/hiking a month before the official change. We were at Audubon at the end of August last year; some trees were already beginning to change their colors. Note how this maple leaf has multiple colors whereas an oak leaf simply turns brown.
Encourage kids to be, well, kids. We found this unusual walkway at Audubon; the kids had a blast running up and down it. Yes, exercise without thinking about it! Jump off rocks, jump off tree stumps – seriously, don’t worry so much about the bumps and bruises. As someone used to tell me, It’s a good day if you’re dirty by the end of the day.
Take the time to get close to wildlife. At Audubon, you’ll find a permanent collection of wild owls housed in these wooden structures and open to the public. Visiting these owls meant we had to be quiet and not move too quickly. We also couldn’t poke fingers into the cages or try to feed them anything, all important lessons to learn for stewardship of our earth.
Because it’s so rare to encounter wildlife in our suburban area, I think it’s incredibly important for my kids to encounter it as much as possible, even if we’re seeing a wild animal or bird in a cage at a learning center. Next time, they encounter that bird or animal injured out in the woods, my hope is my kids will see that injured animal as something familiar that needs to be cared for, and not something to step on or throw sticks at.