Fed Up With Frenzy? Get ‘em Outside to Play!

 

TGSG Note: Hi gang! This week, my friend and fellow nature geek, Suz Sachs Lipman, is stopping by to share some fun activities to help get you and your family outside and connecting with nature. Suz is celebrating the publishing of her new book, Fed Up with Frenzy: Slow Parenting in a Fast-Moving World. See ya outside! ~ The Grass Stain Guru 

If you find yourself craving a deeper connection to nature, but don’t know where to begin or what to do once we get there, you’re not alone. These simple and rewarding activities can help you and your family slow down enough to observe and experience nature’s small wonders and have fun while you’re doing so.

1.  Name Walk

As lovely as nature is, the instruction to observe it can be overwhelming, especially for kids. Just as birdwatchers focus on birds, other opportunities to focus on specific elements of nature can help children tune into their surroundings.

You’ll need:

• Paper and pencils, optional

Before beginning your walk, instruct everyone to look for things that start with the same first letter as their names.

Lead kids on a route or trail or around a park and encourage them to look in the sky, on the ground, and in trees. Be prepared to walk slowly and perhaps not cover much distance, to allow
deep observation.

Try other observation walks by having everyone look for the same type of thing, such as flowers, leaves, birds, rocks, small items, smooth items, or certain colors. See how many varieties the group can find within one category.

2.  Nature Bracelets

I’ve done this very easy activity with groups of all ages. It encourages people to look all around them.

You’ll need:

• Masking tape, 1? or wider, enough to go around each child’s wrist

Tear off a piece of masking tape, slightly longer than the child’s wrist.

Place it around the wrist with the sticky side out.

Go for a walk or hunt and look for small items in nature that can be stuck to the masking tape, such as leaves, twigs, seeds, acorns, pebbles, and pods. In general, things that have already fallen on the ground are safe to pick. If in doubt, leave something.

Fill the bracelet by sticking the items onto it and wear it proudly.

3.  Kim’s Game

This well-known game has entertained many generations and is easy to organize and play, indoors or out.

You’ll need:

• 20 small items, such as acorns, shells, twigs, rocks, pinecones, or seeds
• Pencil and paper for each person
• Towel or something to cover items

Decide whether you are playing in teams or individually.

Uncover items for two minutes.

Cover items again. Teams or players remember and name as many objects as they can.
Each player earns one point for each correct article named.

Seeking a different way to play? Try Duplication. Uncover items for two minutes. Players go out in nature to find duplicates of the items.

Have fun while you deepen your connection to nature!

Playfully yours, Suz 

 

Adapted from Fed Up with Frenzy: Slow Parenting in a Fast-Moving World, by Susan Sachs Lipman. The book contains these activities and many more. Follow Suz on Twitter!

photo by: Genevieve Paule

Summer PSA

The stark realization has hit: It’s already mid-July and the incredible summer days and nights we dream of most of the year are quickly passing us by.

GASP. I know.

So consider this a little Public Service Announcement from your friendly neighborhood Grass Stain Guru

GO OUTSIDE & PLAY.

Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. No more excuses. And seriously, the air conditioning will be waiting for you…and will feel even better when you go outside and get your play on!

  1. Catch fireflies
  2. Run through the sprinkler or have a wet sponge fight
  3. Roast the perfect marshmallow or challenge yourself to come up with a gourmet s’more recipe
  4. Head to a nearby fishing hole.  Take a child who has never had the opportunity and watch their eyes light up.
  5. Try geocaching
  6. Have a watermelon seed spitting contest
  7. Camp. Backyard, tree house or nearby county or state park — it doesn’t matter as long as you sleep outside
  8. Eat a popsicle under a shade tree and play The Cloud Game
  9. Find a nearby trail and hike when the sun is not too high — early in the morning or at dusk
  10. _________________ (Use your imagination and share in the comments section! What’s your #10?) :-)

When September comes and the kids head back to school and the summer light starts to fade, you will have such fond memories of time spent in the pursuit of play — and making the most of this gorgeous planet that we call home.

Trust me — this fact will make you happy. The end.

Don’t miss out. Mother Nature has something great waiting for you…

See ya outside! ~ The Grass Stain Guru

photo by: theogeo

Mystery Critter #87

 

It’s ba-ack! That’s right folks, your old friend the Mystery Critter is back and ready to stump you. :-)

So put on your thinking caps and let’s see if you can crack the case. And remember — no cheating! ;-)

CRITTER CLUES:

  • I am considered to be quite beautiful
  • Sadly, I am on the Endangered Species List
  • I feed solely on one plant
  • I am found in approximately six (6) US states, including Indiana
  • You may not see me where you live, but you can see plenty of my cousins

What am I?

Make your guess, and then go here for the answer and more interesting facts. Did you get it right?! If not, no worries — you’ll have another chance soon!

Favor:  Don’t share the answers in the comments below or out there in the social mediasphere — we want to keep the game fun for all.

Now, you probably won’t get a chance to see this Mystery Critter this weekend, but rest assured, there is plenty to be seen. Just step outside with open eyes and a quest for adventure. Grab the kids, and see what you can find.

And let folks know about it! Join the Wildobs community, and report your wildlife observations.

Fun Fact: Today (May 19th) is National Kids to Parks Day! I hope you will all celebrate with the ones you love.

Until next time, my nature detectives! Don’t forget to #playoutdoors.

See ya outside! – The Grass Stain Guru

 

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photo by: Andy Hay