Enjoying an Indiana Summer!

Summer is officially here, and it has been nothing less than amazing thus far! It’s about creek stomping, firefly catching, and seemingly endless daylight. It’s about creating a whole new batch of memories and remembering those of days past. It’s slowing down. It’s cherishing the moment. Because this season too will pass.

Here in central Indiana, we have a lot of parks. We have over 12 within 20 minutes of our house! Needless to say, there is always plenty to choose from when choosing a day outing. Here are a few local events we’re looking forward to attending this summer!

#1. Bamboo Wind Chimes

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Create your own natural wind chime while learning about wind and what causes the wind to blow! What will your whimsical wind chime look like?
Recommended for ages 6 through adult.
$3/project (up to 2 people per project).

 

#2. Lil’ Explorers 

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Get to know the various kinds of animals that visit or live at McCloud Nature Park, visit the Bee House, and build a simple bird feeder to take home. For youngsters (age 2-5) with adult. $12 fee covers both child and adult. Maximum enrollment is 12 children. We prefer a 1:1 adult-to-child ratio, with the exception of siblings (in that case, one adult for two siblings is fine).

 

#3. Young Adventurers Camp

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Look for animals, build a shelter, and go on an adventure! Become an expert of all kinds of McCloud animals.
For kids ages 6-12.

 

#4. Creek Critters and Bugs

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Step into the natural habitat of our local aquatic creatures! Together we will capture water insects to see how healthy Big Walnut Creek’s ecosystem is. Be sure to wear closed-toe shoes in the creek to protect your feet. A towel and extra shoes and socks are also recommended, and don’t forget your water bottle!
(If the creek or weather conditions are unsafe, there will be alternative activities.)
This program is FREE to attend, appropriate for all ages, and no advance registration is required.

 

#5. Nature’s Floral Fireworks

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Nature is bursting with color in the summer and putting on a vibrant display just in time for the 4th of July! Learn to identify some of our native wildflowers and discover which ones will complement your landscaping!
Hiking terrain info: easy to moderate difficulty, natural and gravel surfaces, up to 2 miles.

 

#6. Firefly Night Hike

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Learn why fireflies flash (and why they never have to pay an electric bill!), and catch and release these bioluminescent insects! Registered participants will receive glow sticks and insect jars. Wear comfortable shoes and bring a water bottle.
Recommended for ages 6 through adult.
$5/person.

 

#7. Fly Fishing for Beginners

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Have you ever wanted to try fly fishing? Learn the basics of fly fishing during this hands-on program. We will go over some of the local fish that you can catch, as well as assemble fly fishing rods and practice casting on land. No fishing license is needed, as this is on land only. Dress for the weather and bring a water bottle.
Recommended for ages 13+.

 

#8. Bald Eagles

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These majestic birds have recovered from their endangered status, and it is much more common to spot bald eagles now. With any luck, we’ll see our national bird flying along Big Walnut Creek! Be sure to bring your camera and a water bottle, and wear comfortable hiking shoes as we learn all about these regal creatures who double as our national symbol. 
Hiking terrain info: easy to moderate difficulty, grass and gravel surfaces, up to 2 miles.
This program is FREE to attend, appropriate for all ages, and no advance registration is required.

 

#9. Mud Soup!

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Get messy! Help make mud soup and mud pies, paint with natural materials, create natural crafts, and play outdoor games.
For youngsters (age 2-5) with adult. $12 fee covers both child and adult. Maximum enrollment is 12 children. We prefer a 1:1 adult-to-child ratio, with the exception of siblings (in that case, one adult for two siblings is fine).

 

#10. Creek Stomp Hike #2

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Cool off and enjoy a splashing good time in Big Walnut Creek! Stomp in the water with Naturalists to learn about the health of the creek and to discover some great places to explore! Wear closed-toe water shoes or old sneakers, bring towels, and don’t forget your water bottle!
(If the creek or weather conditions are unsafe, there will be alternative activities.)
Recommended for ages 6+.

 

 

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A Charlotte Mason Summer

Summer is here  (we still can’t believe it)! With that being said, it’s time to step back and enjoy some calmness. One of our favorite things about the Charlotte Mason method is that it promotes short lessons, outdoor time, nature, books, and narration. Perfect for the calm summer we so often seek.  Here are some fun Charlotte Mason inspired activities to enjoy this beautiful summer!

National Sunglasses Day (4)

Teaching Kids How To Use A Map And Compass

Learning To Embroider 

Washing Farm Animals Sensory Bin

Weather Stones

Color Changing Flowers

Flower Fine Motor Activity

The Very Hungry Caterpillar 

Painting Sunflowers

Nature Suncatchers 

Leaf Threading

National Sunglasses Day (5)

Light and Shadow Painting

Rock Balancing

Making Mandala Art

Make A Stick Picture Frame

Name That Tree

Journey Sticks

Nature Cuffs

Bark Rubbings

Using the Senses Outdoors 

National Sunglasses Day (5)

Art and Nature Study with Beatrix Potter

How To Start A Family Nature Journal

Nature Journal For Kids

Nature Journal With Twig Binding

How To Make A Nature Display 

Printable Nature Journal

Julia Rothman Nature Journal Guides

Nature Log

Keeping A Nature Journal

Nature Observer

National Sunglasses Day (6)

5 Free Living Book For Nature Study

Billy and Blaze Series 

Living Forest Series 

Nature Reader Series

Robby-Bird Life

The Locust Story

A Horse Called Willing

James Herriot’s Treasury for Children

Learning From the Book of Nature

 

Benefits of Outdoor Play for Kids

Free play is beneficial to all kids, but nature-based play is even better because it allows children to develop a range of science, math, and engineering skills.

As we move into spring and the days become warmer and longer, it’s only natural to want to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. What better time to take the kids and head to a local park as spring unfolds around us? Children are spending half the amount of time outdoors as children did in the ’70s and ’80s. Their free time has declined dramatically over the last 20 years and the amount of unstructured activity has decreased by 50 percent.

Continue Reading

 

Nature Sensory Activities

Being outdoors has incredible benefits, and with spring being just a few months away, we’re compiling some of our favorite sensory activities for littles!

#1. Mud Pie Kitchen

 

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Some of our favorite memories were those of making mud “food”. We would mold the mud into whatever our imaginations created and then would paint the creations once they dried. 

 

 

#2. Creek Wading

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#3. Pine Cone Sorting

 

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Our little guy loves to gather all the different pinecones and sort them according to size. 

 

 

#4. Leaf Threading

 

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A thin stick will work just as well for threading leaves together. This is another one of our favorites!

 

 

#5. Stone Sorting

 

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Grab a little bucket, and let them start a collection!

 

 

#6. Lots of Grass

 

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Playing in the grass is one of the best sensory things to do with littles!

 

 

#7.  Tree Bark Rubbing/Art

 

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Take a large piece of paper and hold it (or tape it) on the tree. Then take some chalk and gently rub the paper over the bark! The results are beautiful! 

 

 

#8. Barefoot Sensory Walk

 

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You can walk on grass, small pebbles, sand, mud, and so much more!

 

 

#9. Water Play

 

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Playing with water can inspire so much imagination! 

 

 

#10. Chalk

 

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If you have a smooth surface and some chalk, the possibilities are endless! 

 

 

Gifts For Kids Who Love The Outdoors!

With Christmas being just weeks away, we have officially started our Christmas shopping! I know, it’s a bit early, but sometimes it takes a while to find unique, fun, and educational gifts for our little outdoor lovers. These have been our favorites for the past few years, and will probably remain favorites for years to come!

 

#1. Science on a Tracking Expedition

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Track through exciting hands-on science experiments and activities! We love this kit!

 

#2. Bug Vacuum

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Because, seriously, everyone needs a bug vacuum! Hehee!

 

#3. SAS Survival Guide-Pocket Size

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The perfect pocket sized survival guide for both kids and adults!

 

#4. Lifestraw

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The LifeStraw® Personal water filter, and LifeStraw® Go water filter bottle will filter 1,000 liters of water (264 gallons). A great item to keep on hand for emergencies, or in our case, a fun tool to take out to the creek!

 

#5. Wooden Animal Slingshots

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Every little boy’s favorite! 🙂

 

#6. Camp Board Game

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Learn about the great outdoors with CAMP!! A family favorite!

 

#7. Lensatic Compass

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#8. Nature Anatomy

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See the world in a new way! From rocks, to trees, to critters. This book is our family’s favorite nature resource!

 

#9. Ant Universe- Gel Habitat

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Provides hours of watching and observing fun!

 

#10. Knot Tying Game

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A perfect game for road trips!

 

Do you have a favorite nature/outdoor activity? Post below! 🙂

How Fiction Helps Children Grow!

My youngest has been traveling to conventions with us over the past few months. Amid the different locations and changing venues, she has held tightly to one constant: on every trip she brings a classic children’s literature book. These books are her old friends: Little House in the Big Woods; Charlotte’s Web; Winnie-the-Pooh; Farmer Boy;…

via How Fiction Helps Children Grow — Simply Charlotte Mason