Surviving family nature walks
Today was a good day and we didn’t have to go far at all. As a family, we went off into the woods in my hometown and enjoyed a lovely walk into nature. It wasn’t our first but still these little adventures have a way of surprising us. It’s more than just getting in some exercise and activity in. Here’s what I learned on our walk today.
- Wear appropriate clothing and footwear. It was meant to be a short walk into relatively easy walking territory on a hot day. It was minor but long, light-weight pants and sneakers for me would have meant a much easier walk for all.
- Wear bug spray and sun block. We sprayed ourselves down and lotioned up before setting off. It was tempting to avoid one or the other but even with tree cover, the sun still found it’s way to us and bugs were buzzing by our ears the entire walk.
- Nature walks have a way of slowing us down. I love it. My sons have to watch each and every step and running too far ahead is just not possible. It's a chance to really enjoy being together without constantly reminding them to hold hands or stay close. We helped each other over fallen logs, high tree roots, and wooden bridges. It was “Team Flynn” all the way.
- Nature can quiet the wild beast. My sons are loud, ebullient souls. It was amazing to see them quiet down to hear the breeze through the trees and the distant roaring of a brook in the woods. We all stopped and enjoyed listening to the little sounds, like birds chirping, chipmunks running through dried leaves, and other nature sounds.
- Plan to walk only as far as your smallest walker. It's easy to get immersed in the walk and not plan on the return hike. We found ourselves in search of a waterfall. By the time we chose to turn back, my son decided that he was too tired to walk one more step and my husband had an extra load for part of the hike.
- Nature walks are great places to be an explorer, trailblazer, or pathfinder. Give it a title and my sons will come. They each chose their role and played it out to the fullest. The walk was an opportunity to search for trail markers, signs of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” and more.
To find a location for a nature walk, look for parks, forests, beaches, or preserves in your area. Some helpful items to bring include a camera, field journal and crayons (especially for rubbings and notes), pockets for treasures, and a magnifying glass.
Chris Flynn is mom to two rambunctious boys. A homebody at heart, Chris fell in love and found herself moving around like a gypsy. When she isn’t packing, on a plane, or in a car, you can find her at Mom’s Favorite Stuff or on Twitter.