My little one likes to be outside more often than not. I initially thought I had do to do elaborate hikes with him, or take him to exciting places, which I found so daunting that we didn’t get out as much as we should have. Recently, I ventured out with him to see what we could find nearby. I’ve found that a simple walk in a wild space usually satisfies his need to explore and, even if we don’t venture far, we discover a lot of new things.
I managed to find a wildlife preserve, some open spaces, and the wooded area around our neighborhood lake for us to explore. I’ve had luck looking at the city’s parks and recreation page and asking around for new places to go to. My little one prefers spaces with a variety of wildlife, but I’ve found he is just as interested in meeting a new variety of spider as he is in a family of deer. If I hear the chatter of birds or bugs, we’ve found a good spot.
While I often bring a bag with a few tools to make the walk more interesting, there is a lot we can do without help. Children will often initiate their own activities. On a recent outing, my child gathered a pile of small stones, fashioned them into a little picture, told me a story about the picture he had made, and scattered them about when he was done with them. If you go slowly and let your child do things that interest them, you might not need to do much at all.
Finding and identifying things is another simple way to hold a child’s interest on a nature walk. On a recent trip to the wildlife refuge, we saw a red winged blackbird. I told him what it was. It was distinctive and easy to identify, and he proudly pointed out several more on our walk.
With a little guidance, a simple walk through a wild space can hold all sorts of wonders. It doesn’t have to be fancy or difficult, and it might be as simple as asking a few questions, pointing out a few new things, or waiting paitiently while your child finds their own interests. You just need practical clothes, a waterbottle, and your kid.