When we think of going on a walk with our children, we usually think of nice Summer days or the crisp days of Autumn. Winter, however, can provide a unique experience for bonding with nature and your kids. We recently went on a winter walk with our kids at a small gem in the heart of Chicago – North Park Village Nature Center. This amazing nature center includes a 46 acre nature preserve and an educational facility. If we could find this piece of heaven in the midst of busy Chicago, we are sure everyone can find somewhere in their city for their nature walk.
What you need:
- Notebook and Pen
- Warm clothes
- A curious mind
What to do:
- Bundle up for your walk. We highly suggest layers.
- For moms with babies, we love using a baby carrier. It keeps them close and snuggly warm and it is easier for you to engage with baby as you point things out on your walk.
- Take photos of your walk. Capture special spots that your children liked.
- Take the time to explain to them what is going on. For example the trees and grass at the nature center were brown. We talked about how nature is “sleeping” (yes, we did work in the importance of nap time for everyone – even the trees!) and during this sleep time, the trees are still very much alive and preparing to bloom. We found the deer hiding in the trees and talked about their brown “coats” helping them to blend in with the trees and grass.
- Print out your photos and put them in a notebook. Have your child write a little memory of the picture. i.e. – I liked the deer or I learned that even though the pond is frozen, there are still fish living under the ice.
- Go on the same nature walk for every season. Take pictures in those same spots and teach your children how nature changes for every season.