Friday, December 14, 2012

Nature's Playground

Scat . . . it's what it's all about! After hearing of the tragic events in Connecticut this afternoon and realizing we had great weather, I decided to take my boys out for a hike. As my preschool aged son started lagging behind, I encouraged him with the thought of finding some scat. Certainly enough, we did, but I think it was from dogs walking the area. Later his older brother found this scat we had to capture on digital pixels! Lesson learned--looking for scat can give me more hiking time! Let's go find some scat!

There were so many interesting textures out today. We took advantage of the warmer weather and died back plants (read--not as much poison ivy!!) and did a little bushwhacking. The snow added another lovely sensory element to our exploration time.

Seriously, nature's jungle gym! There are several areas with large downed trees that are perfect for climbing on. The boys find holes and see plants growing on the trees. I've been hearing more about sensory play for children . . . we experienced so many textures, sights, colors, sounds in our hike!

We also found animal tracks!

And animal remains . . . they thought it interesting that there was still fur by the hoof. We actually took a hike out here last January on a nice day and found a dead deer as well. This isn't the same one; however, we did find the other, covered with even more sticks, yet we could find some of the bones.

More textures . . . I always tell one of my boys his eyes are the color of moss (greenish brown). As he found moss today, he asked, "Mom, are my eyes this color?" Aww . . .

More climbing places and gorgeous skies . . .

More hiding places . . . there was litter though. Need to add plastic bags to the great bag my husband just got me so it's easier to pick up litter when we're out.

More textures . . .

We found many fuzzy branches early in our hike, which are most likely from the Staghorn Sumac near the entrance of Lieber Nature Preserve. Did you know you can make tea with it? We might have to try that next year if we find a good source that is not protected. My son still talks about the natural tea he had through the Elkhart County Parks programs. 

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