We have officially reached fall here in Chicago. While the temperatures may be high, there are other signs of fall all around us. Leaves are turning golden yellow and crisp red, squirrels are gathering acorns, and pumpkins are appearing on porches. With cooler weather ahead, it’s a wonderful time to head outdoors and explore. Are you ready for a nature walk?
Going on a nature walk with your child(ren) is an excellent way to inspire a love and appreciation for the natural world. Nature walks are as simple as they sound - but sometimes it can be difficult to know where to begin! While there’s no right or wrong way to do a nature walk, we wanted to share a few tips and ideas to get you started.
Prep for the weather! Nothing ends a nature walk quicker than being too hot or too cold. So bundle up (or for now, leave the layers at home!) and pack a water bottle. When you’re comfortable, it’s much easier to focus on exploring!
Bring a bag! Searching for treasures is a wonderful nature walk goal. Carrying a bag allows you to collect colorful leaves, rough sticks, and smooth rocks. When you get home, place these items in your play area for further observation and exploration.
Choose a “theme!” If simply going outside and walking makes you feel unprepared (As an educator, I hate that feeling!), choose a simple theme to guide you as you walk. If you want to explore textures, bring a blob of play dough to create impressions as you walk. If you want to explore sounds, bring a toilet paper tube to help amplify all the sounds you’ll hear. You can look for colors, bugs, smells – the list is endless!
Use technology! What?! Technology in nature?! While technology can sometimes take away from time outdoors, there are many apps that can add to your nature walk. We’ve created a list of apps that we love – check them out!
Pretend you’re a scientist! This toddler-friendly field guide is perfect for any and all nature walks. Download it here and take it with to help you feel right at home in nature. Don’t forget your magnifying glass!
Nature walks can be anywhere – the beach, the zoo, down your block – and that’s what makes them so fun! We’d love to hear about your walks. Where did you go? What did you see? Let us know!
Written by Nicole Hodur