Thursday, September 20, 2012

Daily Nature Walks A-Z

As a self-proclaimed advocate for outside play time, I have in the past struggled when my own children did not necessarily want to spend any time outside.  As I delved into our own struggles to get out the backdoor, I realized that we are very much not alone.  In fact, nearly every family that I spoke to lamented how much time their children spent playing a variety of video games or texting with friends or watching television.  Meanwhile, community parks stood empty, nature centers unused, neighborhood sidewalks abandoned.  So how do modern parents transform their inside children into kids who actually want to play outside?

We made a few changes to our priorities to start.  We made outside time a part of our daily routine and responsibilities.  My favorite part of this transformation has been our daily nature walks.  In all honesty, these walks are through rather mundane areas of our neighborhood and backyard, and probably walks that we would take anyway as we have a very energetic 9-month old lab puppy.

In order to make this time outside meaningful, my preschool aged son and I have been on an alphabet hunt.  Each day as we walk, we try to identify objects in nature for a new letter of the alphabet.  To pull my older kids into this project, we've started uploading those pictures to our brand new Instagram feed (@OGBackyard).  We've missed a few letters so far due to forgetting the camera or just not being quick enough (as in the white-tailed deer we saw this morning at the bus stop).  Our list is growing every day though:

B is for butterfly
B is for bark
B is for berries
B is for bumble bee
C is for cactus
C is for clover
C is for cloud
D is for daylily
F is for feather
F is for fly
I is for iris
K is for knot
L is for lake
L is for ladybug
L is for leaves
M is for mud
P is for pinecone
P is for puddle
R is for rocks
R is for roots
S is for shadow
S is for strawberry
S is for sunset
W is for waves

Please do follow us on Instagram (@OGBackyard) as we complete our nature alphabet. Or you can like us on Facebook.   We're adding more pictures everyday, which means we're outside every day!  Join us.

How do you make playing outside everyday a priority in your house?


  1. Awesome idea! We love nature walks and taking pictures. I like your idea of organizing what you see using the alphabet. I'll be featuring you this weekend on the Sunday Showcase. :)

  2. Great list.
    I have featured this on The Sunday Showcase: