We’ve been at my parents this past week while my mom has knee surgery. Needless to say, we haven’t done much school and the kids have been left to their own devices while I’ve been going to and from the hospital. They’ve been great, but I knew we needed to take a break, so yesterday we got up early in search of the local flora and fauna.
My parents had told us about a local prairie dog colony and burrowing owl … burrow, so we started there. We saw the sentry prairie dog very interested in a turtle, so we went to investigate. In the course of tramping over their dens, we pretty much alerted the whole colony of our presence. Which leads me to the most important thing about nature hikes with young kids: for the first several years, 90% of your nature hikes will consist of looking at animals that don’t run from noisy children. For example, ducks will actually approach you on the assumption that you have bread. Make sure you have some bread. It’s okay if most of your time is spent looking at bugs and water fowl. They are learning and storing up all sorts of wonderful things, even if it looks like they’re just playing in the dirt.
Actually, the boys are much better at being quiet for longer periods of time, even if they won’t stay silent for the duration. We were able to observe prairie dogs, rabbits, and even some burrowing owls when we went back out this evening. One or two such sightings does more to teach them the benefits of silence than a thousand “shush”es from Mom.
Then we tramped deep into the forest.
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Yes, this is a forest, which is “a large tract of land covered with trees and underbrush.” It counts. And look! The forest is in bloom.
We witnessed nature in all of its brutality.
Finally, we took in a little history before stopping for donuts and heading home.