The last kid had their last week of camp last week, and we collectively breathed a sigh of relief to know we can relax at home on our own schedule now. Don’t tell the kids we are starting school the week after next. After living for so long in a large metro area, it was hard to say no to so many great (and cheap) summer camp opportunities for the kids. The camp this week is only 1/2 day so we snuck in one of our favorite kinds of adventuring, exploring new nature places and taking time for nature study. We stopped to smell the roses and the tulips and the marigolds at the local Arboretum.
Take the Detour
The weather was perfect for outside exploration, it was cool and sunny. My daughter asked to stop at the gardens. It’s a place we frequently pass by, on our way to the Grandparents’ house. But this week we made the detour to stop and explore. That is what nature study is all about for us: slowing down and taking it all in. The kids looked for every color of the rainbow among the flowers, and the felt the texture of some fuzzy leaves. We explored the hidden spaces in the IDEA garden and found a tee-pee of climbing flowers and a fairy house to play with. Lynn settled in with a book from the Free Little Library that was there while the boys hid and re-hid the painted rocks they found. It doesn’t take my kids much to get them to explore because it’s a habit we have created as a family.
Here are some easy ways you can use to start your kids exploring.
– Look for colors. Ask if they can find every color of the rainbow?
– Use all your senses:”How does that flower feel/smell?” or “What do you hear today at the park?”
– Look closely: stop and observe together, pointing out unique textures or shapes.
– Be still, moving quietly will cause butterflies or other wildlife to scatter slower and you can observe them.
Give it a try and try these simple activities next time you are at the park or on a walk. It wasn’t in our plan when we left that morning to go to the Arboretum but we are sure glad we did. It re-energized us all to get out and play in the sunshine. Time didn’t matter that day, the exploration and play was all that mattered.
How will you savor the last bits of your Summer?