Freewriting Fun: Take it Outside

Walking and writing… this is our writing focus this week.  We’ve been experiencing beautiful, warm fall weather, an ideal time to head outdoors for some writing. The assignment?  The daily focus may vary, but every day, my son is to take a walk and then complete a 10-20 minute freewrite about the experience. What is freewriting? From Julie Bogart’s The Writer’s Jungle: “Freewriting is the … Continue reading Freewriting Fun: Take it Outside

5 Best Places to Bird Watch in the Bay Area

Thank you to guest writer, Ernie Allison, for sharing this article! *** Even though summer isn’t the peak season to witness a heavy migration, the bay area is still full of spots for birders to see some beautiful wild bird species. Whether you’re a local looking to quench your bird watching craving before the migration season, or a visitor looking to see what kind of … Continue reading 5 Best Places to Bird Watch in the Bay Area

Halloween Fun: Spooky Night Hike

Saturday evening, we went on a fun “spooky night hike” at Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont.  My son was looking forward to this event more than to trick-or-treating on Halloween night! Before sundown, we met with our hike leader (a naturalist / pirate), who gave the kids some safety tips before heading out.  Then he led the families up into the hills. Along the … Continue reading Halloween Fun: Spooky Night Hike

Photography for Kids: Fun with an iPhone

I enjoyed a fun walk around our neighborhood on Monday with my son, looking for signs of spring.  My son loves to take photos, but he’s become frustrated with the quality of the images he takes on the kid camera we gave him for his birthday last year.  He wants to be able to take photos close-up, and his camera simply doesn’t zoom in well.  … Continue reading Photography for Kids: Fun with an iPhone

Looking for Signs of Spring: A Walk Around the Neighborhood

After school on Monday, we went for a walk around our neighborhood to look for signs of spring. As an extension of the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge (Phoneography Challenge: My Neighborhood), I gave my iPhone to my five-year-old son and asked him to take photos of what he could find.  The signs he saw were primarily floral… wildflowers and blossoming trees.  We did see our … Continue reading Looking for Signs of Spring: A Walk Around the Neighborhood

The Calming Effect of Nature on Children

One of the great things about playing in nature is that bouts of exertion and excitement are often interspersed with quiet, contemplative time.  I don’t have to recommend these quiet moments… my five-year-old sits down and calms himself entirely on his own whenever he’s inspired by the beauty around him. I often wonder what he’s thinking, but I wouldn’t dare interrupt the magic of the … Continue reading The Calming Effect of Nature on Children

Nature Treasure Hunt: Autumn

I ready about going on a winter treasure hunt in Clare Walker Leslie’s book, The Nature Connection, and I thought it would be a fun thing to do during the fall, too, with some slight modifications. Here’s how you do it… On a sheet of paper (one for each child if desired or one paper for the group), create four sections, with each section labeled … Continue reading Nature Treasure Hunt: Autumn

Going on a Bug Hunt

While my husband was warming up for his bike race on Saturday (see post here… Cyclo-Cross, Monterey Style), my son recommended we follow one of the nearby trails and go bug hunting.  Excellent idea!  We keep exploration tools (bug viewer, magnifying glass) with us at all times, so we’re ready to go whenever inspiration strikes. Photos taken on Saturday, September 22nd, on the frisbee golf … Continue reading Going on a Bug Hunt

Environmentalism for Kids: Clean up the Neighborhood

For those of you who have been following my blog for a while, you know my son loves to take walks around the neighborhood to pick up trash.  It’s a great, age-appropriate way to introduce young kids to helping the environment. Interested in doing this with your child?  It’s about as easy as it gets.  I have him put on a rubber gloves to protect … Continue reading Environmentalism for Kids: Clean up the Neighborhood

First Signs of Fall

Yesterday, I wrote about taking your child out on walk to look for signs of Autumn (Take a “Signs of Fall” Walk).  I didn’t feel the seasons changing yet as I wrote the post, but decided to head out for a walk around our neighborhood with my 5-year-old after I wrote the article.  Here’s what we found… Leaves just beginning to change colors. Baby 2-inch-long … Continue reading First Signs of Fall

Take a “Signs of Fall” Walk

Saturday is the first day of Autumn.  While it doesn’t quite feel like fall yet here in the San Francisco Bay Area, I know the seasons will begin to change soon.  This is a great time to head outdoors with your child to look for the first signs of fall.  This walk can be taken just about anywhere… around your neighborhood, through your local park, … Continue reading Take a “Signs of Fall” Walk

Hike and Seek! National Wildlife Federation

I just came across these great fundraising events being offered through the National Wildlife Federation (NWF).  They are not offering an event here in California, but I wanted to let the rest of you know about it, just in case there’s one located near you! Hike and Seek:  This is a 1-2 mile hike and scavenger hunt for kids.  Activity stations will be set up … Continue reading Hike and Seek! National Wildlife Federation

Nature Fun for Kids: Take a Photo Walk

Our new favorite nature outing is to take a walk together with our cameras.  Provide a child with a camera, and he’ll see the world in a different way.  Every day while in Yosemite National Park last week, my son begged us to take him outside to photograph the flowers.  Obviously, Yosemite naturally calls to be photographed, but we have just as much fun walking … Continue reading Nature Fun for Kids: Take a Photo Walk

Exploring the Ringtail Cat Trail, Las Trampas, Alamo

Another great Outdoor Discoveries outing!  Today, the naturalist took the kids up the Ringtail Cat Trail into Las Trampas Regional Park for a “beanstalk lunch hike” to learn about vines.  This is another of my favorite trails in the area, especially on a hot summer day, as the trail winds above a creek through a beautiful shade-covered canyon.  Here are a few of the cool … Continue reading Exploring the Ringtail Cat Trail, Las Trampas, Alamo

Birding with Kids, Shadow Cliffs, Pleasanton

Since the week my son turned three, we’ve been attending the East Bay Regional Parks Outdoor Discoveries program, a naturalist-led class designed specifically for three-five year-old children.  Each outing includes a hike and plenty of time for observation, exploration, and play.  To make the classes even more fun, I always invite friends from my Nature Time! playgroup to join us. Our class this morning was … Continue reading Birding with Kids, Shadow Cliffs, Pleasanton

Walk, Run, Bike, Scooter….Alamo Creek Trail, Dublin

I found the Alamo Creek Trail in the center of Dublin when my son was about four months old, and this great little trail has grown along with him. While he was a baby, I would put my son into the ERGObaby carrier and walk around, showing him the little things we saw along the trail (geese swimming in the creek, smooth manzanita branches, turkeys, … Continue reading Walk, Run, Bike, Scooter….Alamo Creek Trail, Dublin

Look for Lizards

As the weather has been warming up, we’ve been seeing more and more lizards on our walks.  I believe these little guys (they are about 3-5 inches long) are Western Fence Lizards.  We have them all over the place here in the East Bay. Maybe your child(ren) would like to go on a walk to search for lizards?  We usually find them soaking up the … Continue reading Look for Lizards

Take a “Signs of Spring” Walk

The wildflowers are starting to bloom, new leaves are growing on the tips of branches, gardens are beginning to sprout…  this is the time to take the kids out for a walk to look for the signs of spring.  This can be a quick walk around the neighborhood or the park, an exploration of your backyard, an excursion into a local nature area, a trip … Continue reading Take a “Signs of Spring” Walk

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

Our Neighborhood Walk

My boy wasn’t feeling well yesterday and didn’t have much energy. After playing inside the house all morning, by the early afternoon, he was ready for some fresh air. He asked to go on one of our favorite outings… a walk around the neighborhood. We’ve put together several walks from our home over the past few years.  One option is to stay on the streets, … Continue reading Our Neighborhood Walk

Exploring Nature with Your Baby: 6 Tips

  The sight of leaves blowing in the wind, the scent of flowers, the feel of grass, the sound of bird song…   these are just a few of the wonderful  outdoor sensory experiences available for any baby to enjoy.    Getting outside is good for both baby and parent… the more often, the better.  When my son was a baby, he had colic, and it … Continue reading Exploring Nature with Your Baby: 6 Tips

Outside Play, Every Day

Getting outside every day is a necessity for me, both for my physical and emotional health.  I begin to feel a  little, well, off when I’ve been inside too long, and I’ve noticed my son is the same way.  I can get sucked into staying in the house as easily as the next mom, letting my son play with his building toys for hours and … Continue reading Outside Play, Every Day