Encouraging Exploration in Kids + Kids to Parks Day 2018 + Giveaway

    Encouraging kids to get outside as much as possible opens up a door for exploration that no other activity can.  Yes, you can do indoor scavenger hunts or relay races in a gym, but it just isn’t the same as the unexpected and pleasantly surprising discoveries nature provides.

    Kids to Parks Day is coming up in just a couple weeks, on Saturday, May 19th. It’s the perfect opportunity for families to get out together and encourage that inquisitive spirit that kids just have.

    Encouraging Exploration in Kids + Kids to Parks Day 2018

    Tips to Aid Exploration:

    1. Start by making sure they are engaged and ready. For some kids this means planning it out, for some spontaneous adventure is the best!
    2. Ask your child questions as you go.  Think of the five senses as guidelines.  Do you hear that?  What do you think it is?  I smell something different – do you smell it?  What could it be? Etc.
    3. Let them pick up nature samples and examine them. This is a great time to let them take some photos. 
    4. Bring along a nature journal. Let them draw what they see and then write words/labels for them if needed.
    5. Explore without time constraints.
    6. Change environments as you go.  Start in the yard, venture down the street, visit a stream or river bank, walk through a forest, discover out in the open.
    7. When done, come back inside and read discuss what you found. This is a great time to look at some non-fiction nature/animal/bug books.

    Tools for Exploration:

    1. Kid-sized backpack 
    2. Flashlight and/or headlamp
    3. Binoculars
    4. Camera
    5. Bug net
    6. Whistle (in case of separation)
    7. Magnifying glass
    8. Sun hat and sunglasses

    A Few Recommended Books for Getting Kids to Think about Exploration:

      1. Looking for a Moose by Phyllis Root, Illustrated by Randy Cecil
      2. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen
      3. Explorers of the Wild by Cale Atkinson
      4. You can be a Nature Detective by Peggy Kochenoff
      5. My Wilderness An Alaskan Adventure by Claudia McGehee
      6. Usborne Outdoor Activity Book

    Encouraging Exploration in Kids + Kids to Parks Day 2018

    Kids to Parks Day:

    Held every year on the third Saturday in May, there are events happening to celebrate our National Parks in all 50 states. Checking them out as a family and doing your own exploration is highly encouraged! Click here to find an event near you!

    Encouraging Exploration in Kids + Kids to Parks Day 2018

    Win a Buddy Bison!

    This year we are going to send a Buddy Bison to one lucky reader. Check out the full Buddy Bison program here.

    As usual, please use the widget below to enter to win. The winner will be emailed and announced on this post in the widget. Have questions? Please don’t hesitate to contact me at mountainmamatales(at)gmail(dot)com so I can help!  Sorry, this giveaway is open to the U.S. only.

    Buddy Bison

    © 2018, Tales of a Mountain Mama. All rights reserved. Republication, in part or entirety, requires a link back to this original post and permission from the author.

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      1. It doesn’t look like my town is having an official event, but unless it’s colder than -15 or someone is super ill, we are outside exploring!

      2. NicoleZ says:

        We will explore Idaho!

      3. Maine is amazing for exploring.

      4. We’ll be exploring in Battle Creek, MI!

      5. Lea Anna says:

        There’s a nature park near us that should be blooming

      6. Natalie says:

        Thanks for the tips….in my 6 years of exploring with kids as well as growing up traveling to national parks, I agree so much with the spontaneous adventures, bring fun exploration toys and tools with you and follow up with reading (nonfiction book exploration!) Now my kids make sure I have the magnifying class and binoculars and their nature journals. They have also loved doing scavenger hunts! It keeps little ones going to find things when they get tired or decide they are done when you are 1/2 mile from the car!

      7. Sarah Hayes says:

        we plan to explore the park in our county

      8. Sadie B. says:

        We will be exploring southern Ohio.

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