Writing in Nature

The Gear

Writing in Nature Tip #2: Simplicity works best for nature. Spread a beach towel in your backyard so you can recline and study the sky. Remember the notebook from yesterday? Have that ready for when inspiration strikes.

If you’re venturing beyond your backyard, you may need more than your notebook. I have an old backpack that I keep stocked and ready to head out the door. Inside the pack: notebook, pen and pencil, water, snack, tissues, tiny first aid kit, camera, cell phone, and plastic bag for collecting leaves, etc. Sometimes I throw in a field guide, too. Obviously I would need more supplies if I was hiking in the backcountry (compass, topography map, survival tools, etc), but my backpack does quite nicely for local excursions. Adjust it to fit your needs.

With November rain on the horizon and winter not far behind, appropriate outdoor clothes are a must for you and your kid(s). Maybe you already have rain and snow gear, or maybe you can find good deals at a thrift store. No need to max your credit card at REI or Cabela’s. The important thing is that you don’t get so cold and wet and miserable that you ruin your day.

Kids in Nature Tip #2: Go to a place where you can see several leaves falling, such as a forest on a breezy day. Tell your child that each leaf falls in a unique way. Study the leaves and think of words to describe its descent: fluttering, plummeting, twirling, dancing, somersaulting, etc. Let your child offer as many descriptions as possible. This teaches not only observation skills, but also vocabulary! You could even include a math lesson by counting the leaves that fall. Nature is the world’s biggest classroom. And when the kids can no longer sit still, rake a pile of leaves and let them catapult away!

Alternate activity for locations without falling leaves: study the flight patterns of different birds and describe them. Several birds can be identified simply by the way they fly. Note the speed and frequency of wing flaps and whether the bird is floating on air currents, bobbing in flight, or swooping aerodynamically.

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