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How was your weekend? We ended up staying home for most of the weekend. I had planned on attending a couple of events in Detroit, but I wasn’t feeling very well. I am transitioning off of my anxiety/depression medications, and over the weekend, the side effects were kicking my butt.
On Sunday, I couldn’t take it anymore and decided to try something different– a nature walk. It seems kind of silly, but it was actually really challenging for me to do the nature walk.
You see, some of the side effects I experienced from the medicine is feeling dizzy and disoriented. Simple movements like just turning my head made me feel like I just got off of a merry-go-round! I needed the fresh air so I decided to push through the bad symptoms.
We picked a nature trail close to our neighborhood. Travis said he had found one a while ago and thought it would be a good spot. The kids were excited when we told them we were going on a nature walk. Zhen immediately ran to pack snacks and toys to take with her.
We loaded the van up with blankets, hoodies, snacks, and water bottles. Anytime we go anywhere with our kids, it always feels like we’re going on a road trip because of all of the stuff we have to take with us! Ha!
The walking trail was a beautiful spot, but there was only one thing wrong with it. MOSQUITOES!!
As soon as we stepped into the woods, a group of mosquitoes swarmed around each of us.
EACH OF US!
WE EACH HAD A SWARM OF MOSQUITOES AROUND US! It was that bad!
So we turned around to get the mosquito spray from the van, but to our dismay, we had forgotten the repellant at home.
Travis suggested we take a different route on the trail in hopes there wouldn’t be as many mosquitoes.
I didn’t want to even go back in there without an armor of mosquito repellant coated on our exposed skin and clothing. LOL! So we reloaded the van with the kids and our gear and went back home to get the mosquito repellant.
Thankfully, we were back at the walking trail in less than 20 minutes. We drenched ourselves with mosquito repellant and headed back to the trail.
Well, everyone that is except for Travis. He had his own theory on how to keep the mosquitoes away.
Something about a tactic he tried when he was in the Army and had to go on ruck marches (a very long road march where the Soldiers had to carry heavy gear).
*ROLLING MY EYES* (I swear my husband is so stubborn! He was attacked by the mosquitoes the ENTIRE time we were there!)
Upon beginning our nature walk, Zhen discovered a map of the walking trail. I made a mental note to create a map unit for our homeschool and revisit the walking trail to make a real-life connection with maps.
Zhen was excited to find fallen leaves on the ground. “Look a big leaf! Does that mean it’s time for Fall?!”
We also played a pretend game of finding the wild animals in the woods. Zhen liked to find fallen trees and pretend they were animals.
“That’s a triceratops!” she yelled out pointing to a log with a pointy end. It really did look like a triceratops, too!
“There’s a rhinoceros,” she said pointing to another long log.
I had to lean in close to look at the log because I couldn’t see the rhinoceros at first. I squinted my eyes and looked the log over and then I saw a bulky part sticking out of the log. It looked like it could be the horn of the rhinoceros.
“Ohhh! I see it, Zhen! There really is a rhinoceros.”
We examined spiderwebs under the trunk of a fallen tree. We admired the purple, white, and yellow flowers we found. One flower reminded us of snowflakes.
The boys snacked on Ritz crackers and trail mix while Travis pulled them in the wagon. Zhen asked me if she could use my cellphone to take pictures.
At the end of our walk, I told Travis in the Fall we have to visit at least one location in Michigan that is known for beautiful Autumn sceneries.
(If you know of any beautiful Michigan spots for the Fall, please let me know!)
I always feel like Fall goes by very quickly in Michigan. You blink and it’s gone. Does it ever feel that way to you, too?
Sunday’s nature walk was calming and peaceful. Sadly, it didn’t make my bad symptoms go away, but it did help some. Despite having to push through feeling dizzy, it made me feel happy to be outdoors and admire nature.
Except for the damn mosquitoes. That’s one part of nature I can do without!
10 NATURE WALK ACTIVITIES TO DO WITH YOUR KIDS
1. Collect rocks to do rock painting later at home. My kids love to paint rocks and leave them in our garden. You can definitely find a lot of rocks while on a nature walk. Don’t forget to bring a basket with you to store the rocks.
2. Go on a scavenger hunt. This is a very popular nature walk activity that kids love. Travis makes scavenger hunt worksheets at home and prints it out on our printer. A few ideas for your scavenger hunt are: find flowers, leaves, a butterfly, or a deer. Keep it fun and simple for the kids to enjoy!
3. Let the kids take nature photos. While we were on our nature walk, I let the kids take turns using my cellphone camera to take photos. They really loved this activity and it was interesting to see what aspects of nature caught their eye.
4. Collect leaves for observation. Collecting leaves is a great nature walk activity for kids because they can inspect the different colors and shapes of the leaves.
5. Bring your kids’ bike or scooter so they can ride on the nature trails. You can find some parks with paved nature trails for easy navigation. Biking on a hike is also a great form of exercise for kids!
6. Play the game I Spy while on your nature walk. My kids love to play I Spy! It’s also a great way to encourage your child to observe her surroundings. Maybe your little one will see a turtle swimming in a pond, a duck’s nest, or tree engravings (like the one we found in the picture below).
7. Create a nature sensory bin. After your kids do the scavenger hunt, you can take the items they found to create a nature sensory bin.
8. Go fishing! Bring your fishing poles along on your nature walk and let the kids go fishing. (Make sure you choose a nature area where fishing is allowed.)
9. Go on a picnic! Pack lunches, snacks, and water for the whole family to enjoy during the nature walk.
10. Create leaves and tree bark rubbings. Bring along crayons, papers, and tape for this activity. Make sure you remove the paper from the crayons. This is also a fun way for kids to learn more about the texture of the leaves and trees.
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All photographs are by Jennifer Hamra for Good Life Detroit.