Spring comes early in Texas. Last week, I decided to take advantage of the perfect weather and take the kids on a nature hike with me. The twins are 7 now, and Liam is 10. They definitely have their own ideas about how to spend their time. But I had a great plan!
When we don’t have our noses in a book (like one of these books that celebrate getting outside – ha!), we’re an outdoorsy family. We love hiking, boating, and biking together. Sometimes, though, it’s hard to get past the inertia of being comfortable indoors.
Once we actually get going, we love getting out into nature. I just needed something fun to get us started!
Nature Sounds Craft
First up on my list, though, was a simple craft.
I love how, when you’re out in the woods, you can just be still and listen, and then one by one pick out sounds you hadn’t noticed before—sounds like different bird calls, frogs, cicadas, and the wind in the trees.
I wanted the kids to pay attention to sounds too, and so we made a quick craft to focus their attention on it. I cut a paper towel roll into three pieces and cut up construction paper to roll around them. We drew pictures on the paper, and then taped and glued them onto the rolls.
We snipped the overhanging edges and then folded and glued them to the insides of the rolls. (see photo) The result is a tube you can hold up to your ear and listen through. Honestly, it doesn’t really make anything easier to hear, but the twins thought it was fun, and it got them listening.
Nature Scavenger Hunt
I brainstormed a list of plants, animals, nature sounds, and other signs of life we might encounter, and printed it off. Then, I filled our water bottles and packed up some snacks. I told the kids that for every item they could check off the list they’d get 3 little snacks.
With that, my motivated kids piled into the minivan, and we drove to a local nature park. A few wildflowers were blooming, and some of the trees had new leaves. The sky was bright blue, and the day was warm but not hot.
We were barely on the trail when we had to stop and check off the first few items on the list. Springtime is like that, I guess!
Before long, we stopped for the first reward/snack break. I had the kids working cooperatively on their list, and so everyone got the same number of treats. I dutifully counted them out into expectant hands.
On the trail again, we saw a hawk take off from a still-bare tree branch, heard frog croaks, and found deer tracks. By the time we were ready for the second stop, they were really enjoying observing nature.
We also took a moment to observe that some of our Goldfish crackers are smiling!
From silly moments in the sun to serious nature walking in the woods, our nature scavenger hunt game was a lovely way to spend a spring afternoon.
Want to go on your own nature scavenger hunt? Download your copy here.