A Walk in the Woods

Get close to nature and each other on a simple family hike

There's no better way to help your children learn to pay attention to the beauty of nature and cultivate awe for God's creation than taking them for a walk in the woods. Here are some tips to make the most of the experience:

1. Bring provisions. Take water bottles and a light bag of munchies, even on a short walk. If the weather is cold, tote along a thermos of hot chocolate. This lends itself to an impromptu picnic when you stop for a rest break, and keeps little ones (and big ones!) from whining.

2. Bundle up. Layer clothing—you can always take things off if you get hot. An extra scarf, toasty stocking cap, and a few inexpensive handwarmers—little bags that heat up when you open the package (available at hardware and outdoor stores)—also keep the trip from getting shortened.

3. Take a magnifying lens. Look for the cheap version at the drugstore on the bifocals rack. Kids will enjoy seeing everything from insects to snowflakes up close and personal, and they'll marvel at the amazing beauty of God's designs.

4. Look up. Discover contrails—vapor lines made by jets—and interesting cloud formations. Imagine what each cloud resembles: a ship, a frog, a plane. Learn the names of the different types of clouds together (cirrus clouds are wispy and look like they've been combed; cumulous clouds look like fluffy popcorn; stratus clouds look like a blanket).

5. Look down. Notice what's under your feet—crunchy fall leaves, acorn caps, sticks, oddly colored rocks, and plants with interesting seedheads. Before you leave home, make a list of items to find and then enjoy a nature scavenger hunt.

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