It’s was a long winter on the US east coast. We had lots of snow, lots of cold and very little outdoor fun. I have been craving adventure and natural beauty (the kind you don’t need five layers of clothing to enjoy). With our summer trips still a few weeks away, we have been trying to explore nature close to home.
On Mother’s Day just before sunset, we visited a park located only five minutes from our house to explore the creek. We love creeks. Creeks at sunset are even better.
This short visit gave us lots of learning opportunities. We identified Poison Ivy, listened to toads and breathed in the unmistakeable earthy smell of the creek.
One of the reasons we love creeks so much is that our kids are completely engaged there. They are not fighting or whining or running away. They are observing and investigating and relaxing.
This particular creek venture offered an additional educational opportunity. While digging on the banks, we discovered lots of washed up golf balls. This led to a discussion of how the balls got there.
We talked about the distance between where we were and where the nearest golf course was located. We talked about the watershed and how objects or pollutants put in a creek here could have far reaching consequences. We talked about the direction the water was flowing and how high the water must have come on the banks during the last flood.
Afterward, the kids and my husband washed, counted and sorted all the balls they found, which was a great way to bring math into the experience. Recycling came into play a few days later when they sought out a golfer who could make good use of the balls.
When we are investigating the world around us (even if we are only five minutes from home), my kids work together, they are engaged, they are curious, they are motivated, they are relaxed. Teachable moments present themselves. This experience cost no money and very little effort but taught many lessons.
It reminded me that epic adventures are not the only way to explore the world. There are lessons to be learned close to home. There are treasures on the banks of creeks. There is beauty in the setting sun and in the rising moon.
There is magic in being a mom because whether they are traveling the world or checking out a nearby creek on Mother’s Day, every adventure is epic to my kids. Every experience is building their knowledge. Every discovery is helping them find their passions. Every sunset walk teaches them what it’s like to feel alive and motivates them to seek out that feeling as often as possible.
- Swamp Creek Park-learning close to home
- Help Save the Monarch Butterflies (and give your kids an awesome learning opportunity!)