Adventure #4. Three weeks before school starts again. Kids are bored. Mom is tired. Mom is trying to find something to do with the kids that is fun, not a big production, cheap and not boring. Kids just want to veg out.
And then, when we were heading to the grocery store, I saw it…A nature trail that was 15 minutes away and none of us had been there before…it was perfect! I’ve never been on a nature hike before with the kids and thought that this would be awesome to experience with them.
My oldest little man has really started to look forward to the weekly adventures, even though the adventures have been kind of small to start with, which has made me feel like an A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. mom. Then you ask my youngest little man if he wants to go on our ‘adventure’ and he says, “can I watch Netflix first?” 🙂 And the little redhead is just happy doing whatever ‘her boys’ want to do.
So we all compromised and went on our nature trail adventure in the afternoon after Netflix was watched, the redhead had her nap and my oldest little man was able to get in his fair share of street hockey with his neighborhood friends. And to be honest, I didn’t tell them what we were doing until we arrived at the nature trail, because my youngest little man doesn’t like to get sweaty and gross, even though he’s my sweaty and gross kid. 🙂
My tip about this week’s adventure (or any of the adventures for that matter), is to just do it. Expect some complaining from one of the kids because there is just nooooo way to make all of the kids happy (unless you only have one kid, and yet there’s still a chance that even with only one kid, they will be happy with the adventure one minute and then change their minds the next. It’s not just a woman’s prerogative to change their minds, it’s also anyone that you’ve given birth to.)
Thank goodness for Pinterest! I pulled some inspiration from a few Nature Trail Scavenger Hunt freebie lists that I found on Pinterest and created my own list, knowing what we would likely find in a Florida Nature Trail, and the kids thought I was a genius. My ‘conqueror’ (my oldest little man) loved the idea that he had to find things and my ‘organizer’ (my youngest little man) loved the idea of having a list that needed to be ‘checked’ off. My little redhead just loved being out of the house with her idols (her big brothers).
Off we went into this Nature Trail…without bug spray because the little redhead had hidden it in her diaper bin. The boys absolutely loved the entire experience, which took maybe 45 minutes, and was only cut short because of the bugs.
The boys had me read the list a couple of times, and then they went to town listing so many things within seconds of starting our walk. And the mom in me wanted to say, “let’s wait and add more items to our checklist once we get further in” but I stopped myself, let go of control and needing them to learn the lesson that I thought they should learn and let them teach themselves. And we had so much fun.
It was actually really pretty and peaceful to stand in nature and just listen. The kids learned about a few new plants and animals and stood to really enjoy the water that was next to the trail. And I learned more about them…more about what they found beautiful in the world around us and about how they thought it was really interesting that there were circles in the trunks of trees that looked like ‘poop circles’ (knots in trees). It was so much fun and inspiring and taught me a lot about my kids.
My hot sweaty, mess of a 2nd child had enough of the bugs so we booked it out of there but they chatted with me the entire way home about this tree or that fish or the kayak entrance (which was purely imagination on my oldest’s part).
How did I do this?
#1: Get them excited! Excitement is contagious – if you are excited, they will get excited.
#2: Materials: I printed each of the flyers above and added them to our notebook.
#3: During our time together, I took pictures and then printed them onto a third page, in a collage form. Our next adventure will repeat this process – print out a description of the adventure, print out a collage of pictures from the adventure. Then add it to a notebook/folder so that when the year is over we can go through and relive some wonderful memories.
Slowing down enough to enjoy every second of this has been worth the effort that I’ve put in to experience these adventures with the kids.
I have a few more ideas of the kinds of adventures that I can do once school is back in session but I need some suggestions for what I could do for each of the next two weeks before school kicks off. Please leave your ideas in the comments below – I’d love the help!