Nature walks are probably in my top 3 of favorite homeschool activities. They can be whatever you want them to be. A short trip, a long walk or hike, an excursion with a specific purpose or just a stroll to reconnect and clear the mind.
We were fortunate to have beautiful weather for the end of September and we were able to get out on a few different trails to take in the beauty of the season. Edmonton is known for it’s gorgeous river valley and extensive trail system, and although I’ve lived here for almost 13 years, I’m still exploring new trails.
On nature walks you have a chance to discuss trees, vegetation, fungi, animals, birds, the weather, and even human interactions with nature such as construction and littering. We have spotted wood peckers, squirrels, chickadees, porcupines, beavers and even moose on our adventures within city limits and within nature areas around the edge of the city.
It can be nice to just find a quiet trail to yourself, with the kids collecting rocks and other treasures or coming up with stories along the way. But homeschool meet ups for nature walks are also a fun time, with children working together to build shelters in the woods, playing together and often coming home dirty and happy. Plus the moms usually have a chance to hang behind and catch up (when we’re not scooping the kids up out of shallow creeks and deep puddles).
Nature walks can also be experienced year round, giving you the chance to look at a familiar area in a whole new light. In the winter you can discuss how the animals have prepared for the cold or investigate what creatures have left a track across the snow. One of my favorite memories from this past winter involved a warm winter day, snowshoes and a visit to Elk Island National Park. We snowshoed across Astotin Lake to a small island, had a picnic then explored and climbed around the trees before heading back.
If the kids are climbing the walls, you’re feeling a little stressed out or you’re looking for some inspiration, head out on a nature walk. If you’re in the Edmonton area, check out my blog series Get Back to Nature for beautiful nature trails around the city and beyond.