I can’t believe that I am still trying to recover from the past weekend. I woke up ready to face the day, with activities in mind for the kiddos, some time puttering in the yard, and some a desire to try my hand at baking something new. Alas, it wasn’t going to happen. I woke up okay, but by the time my morning chores were over my chest was super tight and I was experiencing chest pain. These are all sure signs I’d overdone things this weekend. I had an inkling during that crazy hike, when I realized the kiddos were having to wait on me and my foot wasn’t much too blame.

So I took things easy today, really and truly. For one, knowing my Brooks, he’ll be really mad if I don’t take care of myself, and normally I love it when he hollers at me a bit (yup, call me backwards, too) but I don’t enjoy it much when I know I’m scaring him or causing him anxiety or grief. And for two, if I don’t take things easy the chest pain sure won’t go away and then I’ll have to go to the doctor and I surely don’t feel up to that.

So it was an easy, peasy day for us. We did a bit of homeschooling since Brooksy is done with most of his subjects. From here on out, it’ll take us about an hour and a half to two hours of homeschooling a day to finish the semester off on time. I love that last month of homeschooling, taking it easy, enjoying the Texas weather before it gets blistering hot, picnics and outings galore. It’s a great way to ease into the fun of summer. For us, anyway.

I still had laundry and other chores to tend to and Little B was a wonderful helper. I took lots of breaks in line with taking things easy. The kids did free play while I enjoyed some books my friend Trish lent me. I scratched puttering in the yard off my list. I didn’t even contemplate baking something new. That last one was a grudging concession.

I did however manage to take the kiddos for a walk. And, in line with taking things easy? We stopped midway so the kiddos could play on the playground and I could rest. You all know I’m feeling smug, right? Just kidding!

I am hoping and praying I wake up feeling one hundred percent tomorrow. I want to play with the kids, bake, make some new art, experience something new. We’ll see what tomorrow brings, for sure!

I am going to attach pictures from the past week. Due to our traveling to the Dallas area to visit family I wans’t able to upload pics, and the same went for camping this weekend.

The first several pics are from Tizo and Titi Missa’s house. The last will be from the campout.

Take note of the picture of the book I took. I call it my Nature Bible.

Whenever I want to incorporate some nature goodness into our activities, be they Campfire related or just for us here at home I check this book first. The author of Sharing Nature with Children, Joseph Cornwell, is amazing. I love the guy. His natural passion and zeal for all things outdoors is evident across every page and the activities contained therein are simple to execute, engage every child present, and create this love for nature that is not always found within children today.

I knew going into the weekend that I wanted the kiddos to be engaged with nature, to really notice the plants and animals that share space with them on this planet. I was super excited about our nature walk/hike.

Before we headed out on the trail I asked the children to really pay attention to their surroundings, for evidence of animals and small critters. To watch how the plants near the edge of the path differed from those found deeper into the woods. To think critically about those differences, why they existed. To consider the habitat we were going to explore and how each plant and animal served a purpose. Every single thing in nature has a purpose; if we were to stumble upon something on our hike without a purpose what might it be? Those types of questions not only engage but open their eyes to see nature from a different perspective. To really see how every single thing fits the larger puzzle.

Along the way, I stopped to point things out to the kiddos, and guess what? They stopped me as well. They were seeing things they hadn’t noticed before. The hike wasn’t just a stroll through the woods anymore. It was an exploring expedition!

One of the activities we did while on the hike was called Find Your Age. This activity was found in my nature bible. I explained to the kiddos how trees grow and after a lively discussion on that subject and looking at various specimens I told them it was possible for them to find a tree as old as they were, without cutting the poor thing in half and counting tree rings. The kiddos were pretty impressed and although it took a bit of time to teach them how to count off years on a young tree, they soon picked it up.

Another activity that we’ve done on a different hike, and which we ran out of time to repeat, was Find Your Tree. In this activity you pair off the kiddos, with one child blindfolded in each group. The child who can see then guides the blindfolded child to a tree, which the child must then touch, smell, hug, whatever the case may be, so that he “knows” his tree. Afterwards the child’s blindfold is taken off and he’s directed to an area which where the child must now identify which tree was his. Oh, how the kiddos love this one. They want to repeat it over and over again, they are so tickled pink by it.

Another activity we did this weekend was Bats and Moths. This one was a fun, get us moving, kind of game. We had a discussion on Bats and how they acquire their food, their habits, their importance to humans, etc. It was a lively discussion for sure. Afterwards I told the kiddos that each of them would have a turn being the Bat and the rest of the group would be Moths. I sectioned off an area of the campground and told the Moths that they needed to adapt to the Bat’s echolocation.  The Bat, blindfolded, would call out, “Bat” to which the Moth’s would reply, “Moth.” Too much fun!

Another game the kiddos enjoyed was called “Animal Clues.” I selected five ocean creatures, already selected in the book, and wrote out six facts for each of them. Then I placed all 3o clues in a pile in the middle of a circle I created with rope. The wind was so strong, however, that I ended up sitting in the middle of the circle with all the clues in my lap. The kiddos split up into boys vs. girls. Each group would send a child in to the middle to retrieve a clue, take it back to his group, where they would read the clue together and try to figure out which ocean creature fit the riddle. It took a lot of patience on the kiddos part since they had no way of knowing if the next clue would pertain to the first animal or a new one. They had to keep track of it all and as quickly as possible figure out the names of all five animals.

We played another riddle game by the fire one night, in which I read six clues to an animal. The riddles at first were difficult, the clues getting progressively easier. If the child thought he knew the name of the animal he was to touch his nose (the name of the game was Noses). If, however, on the next clue he realized he was wrong, then he had to pretend he was scratching his nose, picking his nose, whatever he or she chose, as long as he was no longer touching his nose outright. The kiddos loved this one and sadly by my last animal were begging for more.

If there are other great nature books out there that anyone wants to share, please shoot titles my way. I’ll put good use to them for sure!

And here are the rest of the pictures from the Campout, in no particular order:

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