Patrick and I get outside a lot, but sometimes it can be difficult to go somewhere we would like to explore. When we head to a nature park or trail we are usually there for a few hours, but some days we just do not have the time to spend a few hours outside. Or, as a one car family, sometimes it is not easy getting to a place.
Sometimes the best places to explore are in your own backyard and in your neighborhood. When time or travel constrains, a world of nature exists right outside your front or back door.
Whether or not you join your child or they explore by themselves in the backyard, having such a local area to explore allows for them to get to know a very particular patch of land: the kinds of bugs and birds that frequent our yard, the garden, the rats that live under a bush and come out for fallen seeds under our feeder, and all sorts of other things.
Every day I pick Patrick up from school and we walk home. There are scores of opportunities for nature exploring within that 3/4 mile between the school and our home. At Patrick’s elementary school:
At the public park a block down the street from the school:
On an undeveloped trail winding through a grove of trees near our house:
In some grass along the street by the middle school in our neighborhood:
And on our front porch:
Nature surrounds us everywhere, even in urban areas. You can explore while waiting for a bus, while walking down the street, or even in a parking lot. Children’s eyes are always on the ground, and I am always surprised at how well Patrick is with spotting bugs here and there. But most important, no matter where you live, I am sure that you can find some aspect of nature nearby, at your home or in your neighborhood. You do not necessarily have to go far to get outside!
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