By Jeanine Silversmith
As a mom and hiker, I jump at every chance to get into nature and enjoy it with my children. But let’s face it, sometimes the kids are less than inspired. Sometimes a familiar hike needs something new. Sometimes they would rather sit and stare at a puddle in the parking lot (this almost always happens when I’m itching to move).
Kids keep us on our toes. It’s one of our many challenges as parents to find novel ways to motivate our children towards that which we deem important. Getting outside is a priority in my house and my kids are usually willing. That being said, I’m always on the lookout for new ideas. So when my friend Kristen Kardos, co-founder of RI New Moms Connection and a Kidoinfo contributing writer, offered this idea, I was stoked!
Kristen was ready to start exercising after her third child was born, and her middle guy decided he wasn’t interested in hiking. Gasp! Kristen hikes with her kids even more than I do, and I’m the one who started a family hiking organization. Goodness knows how she found the creative energy or time with a newborn to think up a hiking scavenger hunt, but mine is not to question. Mine is to modify the scavenger hunt just a bit and, with Kristen’s permission (thanks, Kristen!), to share it with all of you.
Click here for the scavenger hunt, grab pencils and clipboards (or anything stiff to write on), and head to a kid-friendly hiking trail, your backyard, or a nearby park. Work cooperatively to find as many of the items as you can, or compete against one another to see who can finish a row or the entire chart first. (Feel free to change or mix up the items on the scavenger hunt to create different playing boards.)
Just remember to get out there and have fun!
Jeanine Silversmith is a self-described tree-hugging, science and math geek whose love of nature, coupled with her absolute certainty that people, especially children, are happier, healthier, and wiser when they regularly spend time in nature, led her to establish Rhode Island Families in Nature. She loves to run, garden, bake, hike, and go camping, especially when accompanied by her husband, Ian, her five-year-old daughter, Sierra, and her two-year-old son, Devin. They live in Wakefield.