Friday, March 26, 2010

Fun Friday: Spring Flower Walk

Fun Friday activities are quick-and-simple ways to explore nature in your own backyard

THE IDEA
Search for flowers – be they wild or planted – throughout the neighborhood.

What better way to welcome in spring than by searching for nature’s newest blooms?


OUR NOTES FROM THE FIELD
We headed out the door for one of our routine neighborhood walks. To liven things up a bit, I asked the 5 year old to see how many different colored flowers he could find during our walk.

He immediately shrugged off the idea.

Thinking on my feet, I changed the assignment: “How about you find any flower you don’t think was planted by someone?”

That intrigued him. We found three different varieties on our front lawn alone. A dandelion flower,


 a dandelion seed head


 and some white grass flowers.


After his initial success, he didn’t seem to mind finding other flowers, too – but only the ones he found especially interesting, like flowers planted around trees or red flowers (his favorite color). There was also this out-of-place bloom coming up out of a bush:


And then we found this beautiful bird of paradise, a flower we’ve been talking about a lot lately.


In the span of just a couple of blocks, we saw a lot more new life than I’d bargained for – and much of it having nothing to do with my neighbor’s planted flowers.

During our walk, we talked about the changing of the seasons, what new things we saw around us besides flowers and what we might anticipate seeing in the weeks and months ahead.

I am continually reminded that not only do our walks connect us with nature, but they also provide great teachable moments – for parents and kids alike.

TAKE-HOME TIPS
With so many flowers to look at, the biggest challenge was figuring out how to make our flower walk something a little out of the ordinary. In the future, I might:
  • Bring a camera. Let your little explorer snap shots of his or her favorite flowers. Print them out and put them in a nature journal. It might be fun to compare flowers you find now to those appearing later in the spring or summer.

  • Turn it into a treasure hunt. My son seemed more engaged when I asked him to find a certain item (flowers not planted by someone). Yours may want to look for certain colors or collect flowers to create a bouquet for mom or dad.

MORE IDEAS FOR OUTDOOR FUN
If you’re not up for a flower walk this weekend, try one of these ideas dreamed up from some of my fellow outdoorsy bloggers this week:
As always, I hope you get outdoors exploring this weekend. Let me know how it goes!

8 comments:

  1. we will be heading to a park today that has a lake with turtles and ducks. I intend to enjoy the outdoors as much as possible now that spring is here. I doubt my 1 yr old will care much about flowers over the ducks, lol, but it's worth a shot.

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  2. Love those beautiful birds of paradise. I miss seeing those all over!

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  3. Thanks for the link! So nice. Great ideas, as always.

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  4. Jana, hope you have fun with the ducks & turtles! Believe it or not, your little one will learn to appreciate flowers if you do!

    Jen, I'm proud to say my 5 yo can recognize & name the bird of paradise - woot, woot! :)

    Michele, loved your guest post on finding fun at the park. Have a wonderful weekend of outdoor play!

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  5. What a great idea! I love that this game can be played almost anywhere...a neighborhood, a park, etc.
    That bird of paradise is beautiful!

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  6. Lovely post Deb.
    Was your son not tempted to blow the dandelion seed head?
    Now that the weather is warming up we've taken to biking home from school (well some days-it is all up hill and takes around 50 minutes) It's wonderful to have that time to enjoy mother nature after being stuck in school all day.I'll be posting last weeks bike/walk home from school next week on my blog.
    Enjoy your weekend outdoors.

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  7. We still have about 6 inches of snow on the ground, with promise of more coming tonight, so our version of 'find the plants' involved knocking the snow off the tree branches to keep them from breaking! Our weekend exploring is more likely to involve snow shoes and trying to find animal tracks in the snow!

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  8. Sarah, it'd be fun to try this activity in a different city, no?

    Marghanita, yes! My 22 month old did blow the dandelion seed head immediately after we took a picture of it. He then proceeded to try to grab the rest of the lot on our lawn, too! :) Your daily bike rides sound lovely!

    Marc, still got snow? I feel for you! Hope you still managed to get out and have some fun. Imagine how much sweeter those flowers are going to look when the snow melts?! :)

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