Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Natural Learning: Exploring the Woods

Exploring the outdoors is a major part of the Montessori experience is something that we haven't done enough of this year. We've been on a couple hikes since moving from one of the most beautiful. wooded areas in the country to a major city, but they never felt even close to any of the amazing jaunts through the woods that we took back home, and the trails were always full of mountain bikers we had to stop and move out of the way for. Our city neighborhood was enough when Ty was an infant, as every little stick, flower and rock in our yard and on the sidewalks were new to him, but we failed him a bit since he's gotten older. Last week I was determined to find a good area to hike and explore so that Ty could experience nature more fully. I'm thrilled to say that we found a park and trail that we all thoroughly enjoyed!

Exploring some beautifully colored fallen leaves.

Feeling bumps and noticing some spotting on a fallen leaf. 

Tyler was quite interested when I told him that squirrels eat these nuts.

Taking a closer look at a large piece of bark.

Watching a large spider crawl across our path and into the grass.


Exploring the cool, hard dirt.
Using a stick to leave his mark in the dirt.

I don't encourage him to pick anything, but he did grab these mushrooms. These were probably his favorite find. He found the weight and texture really interesting.

It felt so wonderful to be in the wilderness again. I miss a bit of country living.

All in all a great trip for exploring, quickly building vocabulary words like "plant" and "mushroom", as well as making connections to some things that he sees in books but hasn't been able to really observe in real life such as wild berries. As a sensory experience, I'm not sure if you can't beat a walk in the woods, and it requres no planning or effort. The sights, sounds, smells and textures are all waiting for you; all you have to do is enter nature's beautiful domain. Last hike we brought a small bucket to collect some items for futher exploration at home. We will do this again next hike for certain. We will be back soon I guarantee! 

Linked-up with Mama Pea Pod


  1. Good for you, it looks like Ty loved it! Remember though even the city is an experience for him just a different one than the country. It's great your giving him the best of both worlds! We also try to make nature hikes part of our weekly routine.

  2. You make a good point Jodi, thank you! One not so fun part of our hike was discovering yesterday that I have poison ivy. At least Ty avoided it! Long pants and shirts next time, no matter the weather. :)

  3. Nooo, the hazards of nature! Yuck, Yuck, Yuck, Yuck, Yuck! I hope it clears up soon for you!

  4. Great exercise! Great fresh air! Great sensory experiences! We love hiking and do it all the time. Great activity for little ones.
    Thanks so much for linking up to the outdoor play link up.
    Hope you will stop by some of the other links and check out their outdoor play ideas.

  5. I also live in a big a city and we love to take our kids for hiking, but we do find that even in the city we can find outdoor fun for kids.
    I hope you will join us for "Every Day is a Play day"link up
    To make it a little more exciting than a normal link up, you will get the opportunity to win a prize for the best outdoor play post. $200 gift certificate from Polarn O. Pyret.
    Cheers Kari