Hikes with Tykes
From Chapter 3: Nature-Oriented
If hiking, why not play games and engage in activities that develop the child’s understanding and love of the environment? The outdoors is a classroom unto itself with the trail your journey through it.
Using the colors of the rainbow, have children identify something they see along the trail that is a specific color; works best for young elementary-age kids. Materials: None. Ages: 3-9.
Have kids get on the hands and knees and try to find the smallest plant they can find. A magnifying glass helps them see the plant up close. Materials: Magnifying glass (maybe). Ages: 3-13.
Name things you see on the trail and have kids point them out to you. List objects that aren’t obvious, such as spider webs, dew drops, a crawling bug, or tossing pebbles. Materials: None. Ages: 3 and up.
Pull out a lightweight magnifying glass and look up close at various objects seen, such as flower blossoms, tree bark, pine cones and of course, bugs. Ant hills are great, and if your child isn’t squeamish, turn over a fallen log for a plethora of cool bugs. Remember to gently replace the log as it is a habitat for the insects. Materials: Magnifying glass; if you have multiple children on the hike, buy one for each child or pair of kids. Ages: 3 and up.
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