Saturday, March 10, 2012

Walking with Children

One my favorite forms of exercise is walking in a wooded area. Maybe because I did this so often as a child, but I really enjoy nice country walks. We are lucky to live in a rural area. Just out my door and a short walk down the road are some woods, then an old church and a small farm with cows and some chickens. I strap Eve in the ergo and put Liv in a jogging stroller I got from my neighbors for $5. After about 5 minutes Liv wants to get out and explore. I try to time it with Eve's nap so she can just sleep and enjoy being nice a close to momma. She usually passes out in 5-10 min. Now comes the patience. Most people want to walk, move, get going, keep their blood pumping. But with a toddler this is hard to do. She wants to explore. I let her as much as possible. Her new thing is looking for nuts. I am no expert so I'm not sure what kind of nuts she is picking up, she calls them acorns. Liv collects them for our backyard squirrel she lovingly named Jumpy. She is a big Curious George fan. In the spring and summer she collects flowers. We stop to look at the cows, talk with them and moo at them. We listen, to roosters, the wind, a train whistle or maybe a tractor in a near by field. We feel the sun on our face, the wind blowing. We may cloud gaze or look at the blue sky. Sometimes we sit on the steps at an old church and have a sip of water. Occasionally we will look at a small creek, if we are lucky we will see a frog. We might talk with a neighbor, but since we have only a few that is rare. We just listen, look, explore and relax.
It is not much of a work out, but having Ev in the ergo helps. Eventually Liv tires and wants to go back in the stroller. This is where I can work out. Its a pretty nice work out up and down small hills with a baby strapped to your chest and pushing another one. In the spring we will do this twice a week. Liv never bores with this. There is so much for her to see and discover on our walks. She is learning so much about nature, animals, weather, sounds, and much more while getting some exercise too. When she wants to explore we walk at a very slow pace. I also have some rules since we do not have a sidewalk. She must always stay to the inside of the stroller and when a car comes she must hold my hand. But other then that I give her the freedom to learn as much as she can. I carve out up to a 2 hours slot in our day. Our walks usually take 1 to 1 1/2 hours. I do not want to rush this. We go in the late morning and have a snack when we get home. This is a lovely way to start our day, gets our blood flowing and gets us in nature. I sometimes through in an impromptu lesson about nuts, cows, clouds, colors, corn, tractors, trains, whatever we see. And often we will go to the library in the afternoon and get a book about what ever lesson I "taught." I don't spend too much time on this, I don't want it to become to school like. We might talk about th
e nuts for the squirrels, maybe I will point out they are round or brown, or which tree they fell from. I might tell her what squirrels eat and how they hid their nuts. She gets excited and brought the nuts home and left them in our yard for Jumpy to eat. This is our little nature walk, preschool study time. I love these simple things and the simple way I get to teach her about nature and more.

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