Yesterday was a busy day, but I was determined to find time to take a nature break. I decided to stop by our park to let the kids play in the river. When we arrived my daughter said, “why are we here? This is boring.” I said, “Well, we have some time to spare so let’s walk down to the river to see what we can find.”
There is bound to be a river stream in your area that allows public access. If you are not sure where that might be, contact your park and recreation department and ask. Spending time by a river, stream, or even a pond is not only fun and refreshing but educational too!
Supplies You Will Need
- Rubber-soled shoes to prevent slipping on rocks and to protect feet
- Clothing appropriate for the weather and activity
- Insect repellent
What to Do
- Encourage your kids to explore the bank by looking at the rocks, critters, vegetation, etc.
- Throw stones a safe distance from others
- Watch sticks and leaves flown downstream in the current
- Who can find a fish, frog, crayfish, etc.?
- Who can name the critter?
- Race sticks or leaves downstream
- Build a dam with rocks and mud
- Bring along critter nets and a pail for collecting
- Discuss currents and eddies as they watch their sticks, etc. float downstream
- Discuss the difference between fresh and saltwater
- Teach how and where rivers begin and where they flow
- Discuss the ecology of the stream and food chains
- Take the back seat and allow the children to explore on their own
- Remember to return critters to there home before leaving
- Encourage gentleness when handling critters
- Children should wear personal safety devices if the water is deep
- Never allow them to drink the water
- Never allow them to walk barefoot, rocks can be sharp and you never know what is on the bottom (glass, rusting metal).
Benefits to Your Children
Encourages exercise, relaxation, and exploration. Provides the opportunity for lessons in water flow, natural history, and ecology.