• Chantal Bufe

4 nature walk activities for Earth Day

By Chantal Bufe

April 22nd marked the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and it seems like Southern California's nature just waited for this milestone in order to celebrate with an explosion of sunshine, vibrant colors, and the sweetest smells. It is truly quite incredible to witness. We can not believe that these flowers are growing in our garden right now! Together with my beloved palm trees, of course.

But here is the deal: while I count down the minutes to our daily family walk, finally getting out into nature after long mornings of homeschooling in front of computers and iPads, our kids have become much less excited about our daily outings - for we have taken more or less the same route for weeks now. And there are of course good reasons for this, as we keep explaining to our children: Southern California's strict lockdown rules stipulate staying close to home when outside and to not go into other neighborhoods for recreation as this is said to increase the risk of virus spread. And in order to help everyone, our family firmly obeys these rules. Especially since we are incredibly lucky to have a beautiful 5km trail (which is still open!) nestled inside a gorgeous canyon right in front of our house!

And while I don't care much for - or indulge in - my kid's complaints about the monotony of our daily route (our children are so lucky during these times in every respect) I worry at the possibility of them growing bored of nature, of ever not wanting to explore it and worse of all... of forgetting to appreciate it for all that it is and for all that it offers us.

So. Since I have am currently wearing a big fat teacher hat anyway, I have been looking for fun and educational ways to mix up our route routine. And in hopes that they will help your little ones rediscover a bit of flora & fauna fun, I am sharing four activities that we are currently exploring.

1. ...go on a basic scavenger hunt

Since the point of our nature walk, these days is first and foremost a bit of exercise, we need activities that don't slow us down too much but allow us to keep moving. And a basic scavenger hunt offers just that and - in the spirit of sibling rivalry - even encourages going faster than intended. And this is what our kids definitely need right now: ways to release their energy! We used below scavenger hunt chart template (and adjusted it a little) and the kids loved it. Fini (8) and Flo (5), especially, rode their bikes up and down the trail yesterday eager to find all they needed to complete their scavenger hunt. Their highlight? The 159 lizards and 49 snails they encountered (and dutifully counted) during their walk/ride.

Download the chart here at teachstarter.com

2. ...use your senses!

In the below chart the children are encouraged to note wha