Yesterday, my husband and I had some flexibility with our schedules (thanks to me being on Spring Break and his work day finishing early). We picked the girls up early from daycare and took them on a “surprise” trip. We didn’t tell them where we were going, but we gave them clues along the way…water bottles, trail mix for a snack, pointed out some of the signs along the way, etc. It took a little longer than expected (faulty GPS directions), but we soon arrived at Kennesaw Mountain.
The girls were SO excited about walking up the mountain. My youngest, Georgia, just wanted to run up the mountain so I quickly put my husband, Jimmy, in charge of her. Delaney and I walked together and were able to talk about lots of different nature related topics and vocabulary. Here are a few examples:
- Steep vs. flat – right off the bat, we had to decide which path to take up the mountain. Given that I’m 21 weeks pregnant and this was the first time the girls were going up the mountain, we opted for the flatter, less challenging path. As the paths diverged from each other, I was able to point out the differences and show Delaney that the “steep” path started going up much more quickly than our “flat” path.
- “What’s a path?” – I showed her that what we were walking on was a “path” and explained that it was kind of like a road. We looked at how the path was lined with leaves, plants, and trees that had fallen. We talked about how staying on the path would keep us safe.
- Rocks – We saw lots of rocks. Some were just pebbles, but some were boulders. Some of the rocks were stuck in the ground, and we couldn’t pick them up. There were flat rocks, pointed rocks, wavy rocks, dirty rocks, shiny rocks, etc.
- Trees and leaves – There was immediate competition between the girls to find the biggest leaf. We walked, jumped, and tripped over tree roots. Delaney and I started following the roots to see what trees they belonged to. I showed her how some of the trees were big and tall and some of the trees were little and skinny. She quickly corrected me, and said, “No…they are all tall.” Well…new attempt – “Look. This tree is so big that we can’t put our arms around it, but this one is smaller and skinny.” She wasn’t buying it – “But it’s big and tall.” It was cute to hear her defend her thinking…a skill that she will be using in school and basically for rest of her life. When I pointed out some of the big trees that had fallen, she commented, “Oh…that’s sad.”
- Connections to one of their favorite books – Both girls are completely obsessed with a book called The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson. The setting of the book is the “deep dark wood”(which was similar to our current surroundings) so I asked Delaney what animals she thought lived on the mountain. It was no surprise that she listed the animals from the book (mouse, owl, fox, and snake). We also discussed other animals, like deer, ants, worms, birds, etc. Georgia added “zebra,” but Delaney decided that zebras would NOT live on the mountain (sorting and classifying skills). To get them down the mountain, we mentioned it was time for dinner. I mentioned that I really wanted some “Gruffalo Crumble.” Then the girls started listing other foods from the book. They decided on “owl ice cream” (of course)!
We had such a great time getting out of the house on a beautiful day. The girls brought home a couple of souvenirs (a leaf and a rock they each picked out) and some memories to add to their background knowledge about nature and mountains. Even better…they are already asking when we can go back.
Have you taken your kids on nature walks? What topics came up along they way?
Have a great day!