September has come and gone, which means we are used to the yellow school bus coming and going, we are used to getting up earlier, and we are in our own school rhythm in our house.
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Here in New York it also means that apples are ripe for picking, pumpkins are grown and orange, and the leaves are turning color and preparing to fall. Fall mornings are cool and crisp, and when the sun shines, fall afternoons are perfect to don jeans and a sweatshirt and head outside with the kids.
One of the easiest things to do in the fall is to take a nature walk. Find a local park or trail to spend a couple of hours exploring with your kids.
Things To Pack for Fall Nature Walks
- Warm clothes – sweatshirts, long pants, sturdy boots or old sneakers, maybe even a hat to keep your ears warm depending on the temperature.
- Clipboards – for a nice writing surface anywhere you are. They can also hold any papers you bring along.
- A Field Guide – it helps to have a guide to look at when you find new and interesting things on your walk. Check out this post for Field Guide Options. (HHM favs include the Golden field guides that are the perfect size for kids, yet are filled with lots of details!)
- A Camera – not only is it nice to have photos of the kids exploring, but there will also be things you find along the way that you can’t bring home. For this, a photograph is perfect!
- Bags – larger and smaller plastic bags to carry anything that you may collect, like leaves, flower samples, pinecones, etc. Consider keeping one bag with you to clean up any garbage you find during your nature walk.
Beyond just taking a nature walk and doing a scavenger hunt, there are things you can do to incorporate even more in-depth learning. Believe it or not, you can get out and enjoy the outdoors while including subjects such as writing, science, and art into your day!
Learning Activities That Go Beyond the Nature Walk
- Leaf Rubbings – gather leaves to bring home with you–maybe a sample of each one on your scavenger hunt list. Use paper and crayons to rub the pattern of the leaves in any color you choose onto the paper. You can turn this into a great notebooking page by adding facts about the leaf and tree that it came from.
- Sketching – You can take pencils and sketch the things you see. From birds, plants, rocks, water, etc., you can sketch the scene around you.
- Identification – How about using your Field Guide to identify and learn about the things you photographed. Maybe a tree you did not recognize or a flower you loved the look of.
- Writing – Write a poem about what you saw or create a short story that takes place in the surroundings you explored. Use the knowledge you gained along with photos and art you created from your walk.
- Unit Studies – You can create whole studies around things that you see on a nature walk. Check out this Daffodil Study, or this Bluebird Nesting Exploration.
Do you take nature walks with your children? If so, do you have a favorite activity to add to this list? We would love to hear your ideas!