Getting Back to Nature With Kids: Bit by Bit, Bug by Bug

May 11th, 2011

As I look at that headline, I purse my lips and shake my head. It’s hard to admit that even “green Moms” find it challenging to get enough time connecting with nature – for ourselves or our families.

Who isn’t busy? It often seems easier and faster to run an errand by hopping in the car or walking along a sidewalk rather than to take a hike on a wooded trail.

I knew I was in trouble today, with this post still unwritten yet due for this month’s Green Moms’ Carnival. I thought about searching through my camera for pictures of my kids communing with nature. But heck, there’s no time like the present, is there?

I needed to get to the CSA for our weekly pick-up, and had about an hour to spare between a 5 p.m. conference call and the time my son came home off the diesel spewing school bus (one huge irritant, why must they be driven to school when walking is so much healthier?).  Time slowed as he asked for a friend to come over for a playdate. Phone calls, coordination with the other parent, and then the litany of the divine right of children: ice cream. (By the way, Alden’s, you’d sell more if you started calling it Cotton Candy Organic Ice Cream instead of Strawberry Organic Ice Cream. It’s what all the kids call it!)

With 45 minutes left, I decided to chance it – and headed out, two eight-year-old boys in tow, for a walk to the CSA. Normally we’d take the main roads, but mindful of our carnival topic, I headed for the trail instead. Before we had even hit the trail, I knew I had made the right decision: the boys were rolling down the hill, laughing all the way.

Luck was with us. We made it in plenty of time. I was back with nearly 10 minutes to spare for my conference call – enough time to rustle up yet another snack for the boys (this time, cantaloupe).

And the adventures we had!

Bugs to behold!

Scary steps to climb!

And why are they closing this trail anyway?

“Save the trail!,” “Save the trail!” they screamed all the way home.

It’s amazing what happens when you get outside. Exercise, fresh air…and the birth of eco-activists!

When was your last hike?

Leave a comment and share.

Thursday’s Green Mom’s Carnival will be hosted over at The Green Phone Booth. Head on over and read some thoughts and tips from the wonderful women of the Green Moms Carnival about getting outside with the kids.

PS: And if you like this trail, head on over to Facebook and “like” their page here. Looks like they could use some more visibility! Only 66 likes on that site!

— Lynn



14 Responses to “Getting Back to Nature With Kids: Bit by Bit, Bug by Bug”

  1. Bethesda Locavore on May 12, 2011 4:35 am

    We are very close to a little patch of woods and every time I take the kids out there for a little “nature walk” I think, why don’t we do this every single day? It really is rejuvenating. Fortunately my daughter is bug-obsessed so she can spend hours just playing with the bugs outside. And I read some study suggesting that playing in the dirt (and actually ingesting tiny bits of it) somehow improves learning :-) so it’s really good for them in many ways!
    Bethesda Locavore´s last blog post ..Day-After Chicken Stock

  2. robin elton on May 12, 2011 5:36 am

    I keep missing the assignments for these carnivals! Bummer!

    I haven’t hiked since last summer, but in DE they run a trail challenge: hike all 31 trails over the course of the year & receive a free state park pass for the year following. As soon as the kids are done school we’ll be hitting 2 trails a week! I can’t wait!
    robin elton´s last blog post ..Gardening for Bees

  3. Lynn on May 12, 2011 9:28 am

    Bethesda Locavore & Robin: Thanks for your comments!
    Re kids spending FOREVER…don’t I know it. I hate to say, but I rarely leave without my cell phone or laptop (at least I can be productive and get some work done while they’re playing!) So if you see a woman at a park bench in Bethesda with a laptop, odds are that’s me…I’m always the only one doing it!

    And that trail challenge… WOW…did not know about that. I love the park north of Rehoboth..that alone would make it worthwhile! Where are you in DE?

  4. Lynn on May 12, 2011 9:52 am

    Robin, here’s the calendar so you’ll know when the carnivals are occuring.

    Hope you can join in the next one! I’m hosting the next one, on June 1, and it’s an unusual topic…half-yearly resolutions.

    I read somewhere that people make resolutions at the wrong time of the year. January, for many of us, is cold and dreary and we’re worn out from the holidays. Spring is all about a new start. The year’s half over…maybe we didn’t accomplish what we thought we would. Do you re-evaluate at mid-year? What’s important to you? Do you like this idea? And will you be making any half-yearly resolutions? If so, what are they?

  5. Betsy (Eco-novice) on May 12, 2011 7:03 pm

    We hiked in a county park a few months ago. Hoping to go again this weekend. So close, and yet so NOT city. It’s awesome you can take a trail instead of a road to get to your CSA!
    Betsy (Eco-novice)´s last blog post ..Kids and Nature

  6. CanuckMom on May 12, 2011 7:58 pm

    Fortunate to live in small town SW Alberta and work in Waterton Glacier International Peace Park. Got to hike for 2 hours at work to set up a geocache and then after day care, walk the dog with my 23 mo old in a Deuter brand backpack (so comfy!,DD only 25 lb) for 30 min. And then we checked out the flowers in our yard.

  7. Harriet on May 14, 2011 3:02 am

    Love how you showed that each of us can “squeeze a hike in” to the multitasking day of a busy mom. Put the hike on your calendar in the Blackberry…the benefits, even from a short time in nature, are immediately measurable, and in so many ways immeasurable. Thanks Lynn

  8. Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking on May 15, 2011 5:49 am

    This was such a great post. It is so true we can usually always find a few minutes to be blessed by the nature around us! So glad that I found your blog.

  9. Katy on May 16, 2011 6:12 pm

    Go, Lynn! You made it happen. Sometimes I declare, “the house is closed!” to get them outside. How great that you walked to pick up your local food. Local food, local woods, what’s better and more simple than that?
    Katy´s last blog post ..Get Outdoors! Building Fairy Houses

  10. Green Bean on May 17, 2011 4:23 pm

    What fun! I adore hikes and it is usually so hard to just do them. Whenever we force ourselves, we never regret it for a second.
    Green Bean´s last blog post ..Hey- Daal Face!

  11. Lynn on May 18, 2011 5:08 am

    Wow! I struck a nerve with this post! Thanks for all your comments – forgive me for not responding earlier, but I was hanging around outside with my kids! (For real!) Sitting on tree trunks in a neighbors’ driveway, watching the kids play….Ahh…spring…

  12. Stephanie Helline on May 23, 2011 7:50 am

    Want to take your kids hiking or camping? Not sure where to go? PATC is your answer!

    There is an absolutely fabulous not for profit organization in the DC metro called Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC). PATC is a volunteer-based organization headquartered in Vienna, VA and manages more than 1,200 miles of hiking trails in the Mid-Atlantic region, along with cabins, shelters, and hundreds of acres of conserved land.

    They have family activities to introduce children to hiking and camping. In addition they have a number of cabins (from primitive (no electricity or running water) to those with creature comforts) that can be rented for your back to nature get-away! At a very affordable price ($20. – $95. per night on a wknight and $30. – $185. per night for the weekend). And that is NOT per person!

    Cabins come equipped with plates, silverware, cups and pots and pans! You can hike into some and drive up to the door of others!

    Go to for all the details! If you’d like to learn more about each cabin, buy the cabin book at the PATC store or pick it up at REI in the DC/VA/MD area.

    I’ve taken a number of kids to PATC cabins over the years and these trips have always been a hit!

    You can only conserve what you know!

  13. Lynn on May 30, 2011 12:28 pm

    Stephanie, this is awesome! Had never heard of PATC….thanks so much for sharing! Would you like to do a guest blog post about it? You sound very passionnate about the organization…which makes for great blog posts! — Lynn

  14. Tasha on August 30, 2011 10:36 am

    Nature walks with my daughter are the BEST! We try and get out each day, even if we can’t make it to the woods or splash around down by the river, we try to get to the park to feed the ducks. She’s only 1, so she rides in my Baby Backpack Carrier, that way I can leash the dogs and bring them along too. It’s our FAMILY time…
    Thanks for sharing, it puts me in the mood for camping!

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