Nature Walk in Botanical Gardens

Our weather here in South Africa has been amazingly HOT about 40 Deg C (104 deg F). With effect that we haven’t ventured out the house much-except to the swimming pool! So today I decided no matter what the heat was we were going on a nature walk in our botanical gardens.

When we pack for a nature walk food is a must, but so is our nature bag. In our nature bag each child (and mom) has a drawing book, we have pencil crayons and crayons as well as other stationary, tweezers, magnifying glass, zip lock packets and such.

So even though we were wilting ……..we put on our cheerful faces and headed out.

 

One of the highlights is to ring the old ship bell that stands at the entrance to the avenue of Plane Trees.

While reading all about the bell’s past adventures….

Then as in all families with little people nothing goes well till the tummies are full. So we found a fantastic picnic spot! Please note the new lunch boxes – they have changed my life! Instead of one box for all – everyone has their own packed lunch what a pleasure 🙂

Then special times of bonding together. I love how close the children are and that even though the age gaps are big they still love to hang out together.

Everyone took turns swinging each other around in circles

Whilst chasing a lizard up a tree – some investigated whilst others clambered up an old vine entangled around the tree.


Little people learned how to use a magnifying glass.

We were chased by geese.

While some terrapins came to say hello….We took some time to draw what we saw.

We went for a nature walk and besides seeing some interesting birds Maiden #1 managed to just miss been splatted on by a hadeda.

As we strolled along we stopped to look at some bugs and interesting plants.

We listened and laughed and ran and crept. We took time to day dream and just be.

No we didn’t do maths, or language arts, we didn’t write a report or carry clipboards. But we learned SO much. We learned to stop and take time to just enjoy being together in nature. We learned to just stop and be still. We learned that goslings can make us shriek with delight while terrapins held us awestruck. The Hammerkop’s cry kept us captivated while while mysterious paths keep us intrigued.

“Mommy, is God as big as those trees?”

“Bigger.”

“Wow” stands in silent awe and then: “What a huge God we’ve got”

A day well spent I’d say!

Homemade Raincoat

We just spent a week in the drakensberg but we didn’t get around to buying all the kids raincoats. We could have let that stop us from enjoying our walks in the mountains on rainy days BUT we didn’t. That was simply because we took some black plastic bags with us. We cut a small hole in the bottom as a head hole and a hole at each bottom corner or arm holes. We needed to tie it up a bit but it kept most of their bodies dry. (Just remember to throw the bag away afterwards as you don’t want you little ones playing with it when you not around.) We found so many exciting creatures that we would have missed if we had let the rain keep us at bay!

 

Shadow Shapes

Take time today to observe your shadows.

Watch them jump and move with you. Look at how they grow and shrink. Take some paper outside and put it down near a friend or a plant and trace the shadows.

Believe it or not shadows teach a child so much about their position in space, it increase their vocabulary, draws their attention to comparisons, they learn about the sun, light, movement as well as how special and individual they are.

Hint: don’t talk too much. Just make a few observations and let them connect dots, ask questions and explore this exciting extension of their body. (Or even add a few bodies together to make some strange shapes!)


 

Spectacular Spring

With spring upon us we have had a wonderful time outdoors. Our pre-schoolers have stood in awe of all the amazing mysteries happening around them. As we’ve played outside we’ve been drawn towards the new flowers budding or the tiny leaves poking through the dry earth. Leaves of all shapes and sizes are bursting off our trees and insects galore have taken up residence in our garden. Finding time to stop and look at all these amazing miracles not only leaves them with a sense of wonder and awe that will be carried into their adult lives it also helps develop a host of other skills.

By looking at these tiny developments and bursting of nature they develop an eye for detail, their visual discrimination and visual figure ground and visual constancy  skills are honed. As you compare different flowers and leaves they will be developing their sorting skills. They will begin to notice different patterns and similarities and differences on the various objects. Notice how all the caterpillars walk differently and how one bird runs along the ground whilst another hops. Take some time these next few days to just enjoy being outside with your child and they will be developing a host of preschool skills that you are not even aware of!

Take time to stop and look at the little things in life. These include flowers, bugs, stones and leaves. By learning to stop and notice what is around us we learn a host of skills including the development of the habit of attention, observation and detail. Take a few minutes out of each day to “stop and stare.”

 

Exercise Today

We are realising more and more how important physical exercise is for children and adults alike. In our modern, indoor, lifestyle it’s often easy to make excuses and stay snuggled up in front of the TV. We just spent a week in the Drakensberg and part of the plan was to do lots of walking – but it rained! Hmm, no TV here, 5 kids in a tent, rain coats or not walks here we come!

We could have let the lack of raincoats stop us from enjoying our walks in the mountains on rainy days BUT we didn’t. We had taken black plastic bags with us and put these to great use. We cut a small hole in the bottom as a head hole and a hole at each bottom corner or arm holes. We needed to tie it up a bit but it kept most of their bodies dry. (Just remember to throw the bag away afterwards as you don’t want you little ones playing with it when you not around.) We found so many exciting creatures  that we would have missed if we had let the rain keep us at bay!

So as we step into this new year let’s think of solutions rather than excuses for not exercising!

 

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