Nature Walk, Redwood Regional Park, Oakland

My favorite spot in the San Francisco East Bay to take kids for a nature walk is Redwood Regional Park, but, for a variety of reasons, we haven’t visited the park for a few months.   We had a break in the rain late this week, so we headed to the park for a walk and some playtime with friends.  As has been happening lately, … Continue reading Nature Walk, Redwood Regional Park, Oakland

Letterboxing: The Search for the Gingerbread Man

I’m happy to report that our first letterboxing experience was (mostly) a success.  For our first outing, I wanted to do a search that was, 1) relatively easy, and 2) close to home.  After searching on letterboxing.org for boxes hidden in Dublin, California, I was glad to find there was a box hidden in Dublin Heritage Park, the park nearest to our home.  Plus I … Continue reading Letterboxing: The Search for the Gingerbread Man

Letterboxing: Getting Ready for the Hunt

Letterboxing has been around forever (well, at least, a few hundred years), but I just learned about it within the past year.  Though I’ve been interested in trying it out with my son, it somehow seemed a bit overwhelming just to get started.  But now I’m ready to begin.  If you’re new to letterboxing, like I am, I’m going to provide you with the basic … Continue reading Letterboxing: Getting Ready for the Hunt

Cherry Blossoms, Japanese Tea Garden, San Francisco

For a few years now, I’ve been wanting to see the cherry blossom trees while they are in bloom at the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco.  I walked by the gardens a couple weeks ago on our way to the California Academy of Sciences, and poked my head in to see if the trees were blossoming yet, but, no, they weren’t.  I thought, just … Continue reading Cherry Blossoms, Japanese Tea Garden, San Francisco

Stop, Look, Listen, Observe

This afternoon we attended a family nature walk, a free naturalist-led event held in the Tilden Nature Area in the Berkeley hills. I couldn’t resist the event description… “Natural beauty, strange creatures and curious plants reveal themselves to those who seek such wonders.” We walked for two hours, slowly ambling along, observing the little things along the way. Here’s a small list of what we … Continue reading Stop, Look, Listen, Observe

Wild Animals Up Close in the San Francisco East Bay

We all know that it’s not OK to approach a wild animal out in nature, so how can we provide opportunities to nurture our children’s curiosity about these animals and provide the hands-on learning our children love? We’re fortunate to have many programs in the San Francisco East Bay which allow our children to experience and touch wild creatures in a safe environment. Here I’ve … Continue reading Wild Animals Up Close in the San Francisco East Bay

Water Drops

We’re on day four of much-needed rain here in the Bay Area.  My son didn’t feel like going outside today at all, preferring instead to remain inside, constructing Lego farm buildings. I was able to coax him out for a few minutes between rain showers to look for water drops on the plants.   Now we’re back inside.  He’s building yet another barn.  I’m writing. … Continue reading Water Drops

Sticky post

Five Tips for Joyful Hiking with Little Kids

As someone who leads a lot of hiking outings with little kids, today I’m going to address a question I’m frequently asked by parents…. “How do I get my child to enjoy hiking?” Listed here are what I believe to be the five most important tips: Keep it short: The first thing you must do is give up the idea that you’ll be able to … Continue reading Five Tips for Joyful Hiking with Little Kids

Outdoor Art: Sidewalk Chalk Drawing

For a quick, easy outdoor activity, I keep a bag of sidewalk chalk on our front porch.  We were home sick yesterday, and drawing on the front walkway with chalk was about the only outside activity my son felt up for. I like this kind of art for its simplicity.  Give child chalk, send outside, draw.  Done. This is one of the pictures my boy … Continue reading Outdoor Art: Sidewalk Chalk Drawing

Favorite Bay Area Petting Zoos

Touching animals, whether farm animals or ocean creatures, is an experience all children should have the opportunity to enjoy.  Watch the faces of the children around you at a petting zoo, and you’ll see joy, amazement, intense focus, or wonder.   A child may giggle when an animal licks their hands, or may jump back in disgust.  Either way, they are learning about animals through … Continue reading Favorite Bay Area Petting Zoos

How do YOU connect with nature?

Originally posted on LEARN FROM NATURE:
Nature Wallpaper (Photo credit: tiltti) Tell me here or at Learn From Nature According to Richard Louv, you are part of the New Nature Movement if … You want to reconnect with real life in a virtual age. You’re a student who’s decided to build a career connecting people to nature. You’re an entrepreneur who wants to build a… Continue reading How do YOU connect with nature?

Newts in the Botanical Garden

We’re lucky to live in California newt country. These magical little creatures can be found throughout the hills in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. We’ve had luck finding them in Jewel Lake at Tilden and crossing the trails in Las Trampas. Our favorite place for newt viewing, however, is in the Japanese Pool at the UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley. During mating season, the newts … Continue reading Newts in the Botanical Garden

Emerald Glen Park, Dublin

Rock Climbing: At the Park

When we feel the need for a touch of Yosemite, but can’t get away for the weekend, we head, believe it or not, to our local park.  Emerald Glen Park in Dublin has a great faux granite rock climbing area.  Check out this picture.  Doesn’t it look like the Sierras? Kids seem to especially enjoy playgrounds that incorporate a touch of nature into the design. … Continue reading Rock Climbing: At the Park

Take Reading Time Outside

Today is Read Across America Day, and the forecast is for sunshine throughout the Bay Area.  We’re going to celebrate by taking reading time outside today.  Join us!  Pick a favorite book or two, find a sunny, warm location, and, well, simply read to your child.  Not sure where to go?  Here are a few easy suggestions… your backyard, the local park, or on the … Continue reading Take Reading Time Outside

Outdoor Art: Splatter Painting

Allow your child to channel their inner Jackson Pollock with this fun, messy painting activity.  This art is made to be done outside, as no sane parent would allow it to take place in the house! Materials: Tempera paint Containers for paint (plastic cups, recycled jars, etc) Large paint brushes Masking tape Large plastic sheet, tarp, or old shower curtain Large paper – at least … Continue reading Outdoor Art: Splatter Painting