My frustration is rapidly turning into anger. My twins four year olds are running ahead on the trail yelling - scaring the birds away and probably every other animal in the forest.
None of the bird watching I had envisioned is occuring here. I'm struggling to keep up and wondering why I thought a nature hike was a good idea. Have you been there?
The first time I took my kids on a bird hike I forgot the two most important things about hiking with kids.
affiliate links are included below
Fast forward a year and we're once again hiking. This time we're in Brooklyn at the Marine Salt Marsh.
It's this quiet little nook in the middle of southern Brooklyn. An escape from the bustling city that sneaks up on you. As you wander the mile loop near the marsh you forget, just for a moment, that that you are still in New York. You get lost in the soft chirping and cool breeze and just for a moment you are in the nature.
This time, at the Salt Marsh, my kids walked. They stopped frequently. They spotted birds, butterflies, bumblebees, and three kinds of flowers.
This time they looked carefully.
This time they saw the birds.
This time they enjoyed the nature around us.
So what was different? This time I remembered two things.
This is preschool teacher rule number one and I forgot. You have to get them excited about it before you go or they won't be invested.
Often I get my kids excited about an adventure with good books. We looked through a couple the morning of our Salt Marsh bird hike and talked about what we might see on our adventure.
National Geographic Kids Bird Guide of North America by Jonathan Alderfer Order Online
Birds, Nests and Eggs by Mel Boring Order Online
By the time we were done with our breakfast, they were jumping out of their seats to get bird watching.
The first time we went, I didn't bring anything except for my camera. I was expecting them to do what? Stand still and stare and the tree tops? Yeah, that didn't happen.
Now when we go for a bird hike, we bring our bird watching tools.
There are three things we love for bird watching.
1. Child Sized Binoculars Order online
2. Journal & Colored Pencils
The journals you see were gifts that we love made by Blick. They are similar to what I linked. The main things you are looking for are unlined paper, spiral binding so it will lie flat, and a smaller size. In my opinion that makes it more portable and easier to fit on a child's lap while they draw in the field. Order Online
3. Children's Bird Book
Those same bird guides mentioned above that got us excited to find the birds, also help us identify them on our hike.
If I remember to do those two things? We slow down. We see things. Mama doesn't lose her cool. And best of all, learning happens.
Learn More About the Bambini Field Guide : READ POST
Why Field Trips are Essential : READ POST
12 Months of Nature Walks : READ POST
Signs of Spring Preschool Unit : READ POST
Have You Heard the Nesting Bird : READ POST
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