nature

Visiting the Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze Adventure

In between rainy days, we’ve squeezed in visiting the pumpkin patch and corn maze. What a special place for kids and grownups with lots to enjoy.visiting the pumpkin patch

The pumpkin patch engages our senses. Visually, it’s bright with color. The autumn leaves dance with orange, gold, and sometimes red. The pumpkins glow against the backdrop of the dirt or straw. The green of the corn stalks is fading and turning to soft yellows. Crows are big and black against the sky. Both sunny or grey days have much to see.

visiting the pumpkin patch

For the sense of touch, the pumpkins are heavy and mostly smooth. The stems are rough and bumpy. Our skin feels the cool touch of fall weather. The sound of voices and laughter fills the air. We can hear the crunch of leaves and straw underfoot and the grunts of kids carrying pumpkins as big as themselves. There’s an earthy smell tickling our noses. Our tongues anticipate the taste of hot chocolate and maybe some pumpkin treats and popcorn.

So much information comes to us thru our senses. For children especially, much of their interaction with the world is on a sensory level. No wonder it’s fun.

Not just bodies, brains participate at a heightened level too. Think of the special vocabulary as we talk about the patch: ripe, round, heavy, ridges, rows, small, giant, enormous, tiny, vines, bumpy, smooth, flat, stem, seeds, and more. If the pumpkin patch has a corn maze like the one in our area there are more words like stalks, corn silk, cobs, ears, and kernels.visiting the pumpkin patch

Picking out the right pumpkin takes thinking skills, such as comparing, problem-solving, and imagining. Choosing is an active process. How many and how big are math questions. Science is happening from the ground up and the connection to nature is all around.

visiting pumpkin patch

There’s no doubt visiting the pumpkin patch and corn maze is an adventure. For some families, it becomes an annual and much anticipated tradition. Could this be your family’s play-of-the-day?

Nature Playdate Outside

One of the nicest presents anytime of the year is a friend. For a play-of-the-day, combine it with some outside time for a nature playdate outside. Now, there are two friends.

nature playdate outsideAt this time of year, the activities for a child and friend are will be influenced by the weather. In some areas, kids may be able to take a ball to an open area and have fun kicking and chasing it. In other places, zipped into snowsuits, kids may be able to use sleds and toboggans, build snowmen, and make snow angels. If it’s just wet, rubber boots and muddy buddies mean kids can splash in the puddles.

Playgrounds may be another possibility, depending on where you live. Swings are fun anytime of the year, as long as the seats aren’t wet. An old towel will often be enough to wipe water off a slide so kids can enjoy it and stay warm. If the playground is a better choice for another day, even a short walk around the block gives some time outside and in natural daylight.

outside playdateIn any play school, daycare or preschool setting there will be many social expectations on kids. They need to know how to interact with others their own age. Being a member of a group can be demanding for anyone. Having a play date gives kids an opportunity to develop and practice social skills. Kids engage in give and take, negotiating, and communicating.

The nature factor adds a special dimension. It awakens and stimulates the senses. Birds and animals may not be as visible, but there’s still lots to see, hear, an d feel. Warm, cool, or cold with sun, clouds, or rain the weather is nature’s part of the conversation. What will we say to nature?
After some nature time, friends can come back in and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate or maybe a cool juice. Cookies go with either. Is there time for a nature playdate outside?

The Gift of Time in Nature for Kids –And Adults

The gift of time in nature for kids is one we take for granted. Yet, hundreds of world leaders have gathered this month in Paris to talk about how to protect nature and our planet. We are all recognizing that we need to care for this gift. Kids especially need time in nature.

Christmas time in nature

Nature is very much a part of Christmas, no matter where your family lives. Christmas trees are either real evergreens, or made to look like them. Animals were part of the first Christmas and nativities include sheep, cows, oxen, donkeys, and camels. Likely, there were a few others too. Santa uses reindeer to pull the sleigh, although in Australia, he apparently has kangaroos. The decorations on trees and houses are again natural items, such as pine cones, icicles, and snowflakes, or are based on them. While some places have real snow and frost, others spray white snow foam on windows. Holly, mistletoe, and poinsettias are other items for nature often seen at Christmas. The dark and light of the season are more than symbols. In the northern part of the world, there’s more dark than daylight at this time of year, and…brr…usually more cold than hot.

Each region at this time of year has special outdoor activities, whether cold ones like skating, skiing, and playing in the snow, or hot ones like swimming and building sand castles. Regardless of the temperature, families can go for a hike either all bundled up or protected against the sun.

For a play-of-the-day, dress for the weather and go outside. You might choose time at a park or playground, a hike in the woods, or a walk around the block. Check out what’s happening in the sky. Are there clouds to see? Has the sun come out to say hello? If feet are tucked inside boots, in rainy areas there might be puddles to splash in. Any time in nature for kids and adults on your agenda today?