Friday, May 29, 2009

Nature Hiking With Our Friends



We visited one of my favorite places today, LISDOLA (Lewisville Independent School District Outdoor Learning Area). We went with a bunch of other children and their parents from the Early Childhood PTA. This was our third trip there and it was awesome as usual. I was excited to learn today that Nicholas will have school field trips at LISDOLA too.

We started with a little talk to all of the children about preserving Nature, not taking things from the trails, and not leaving trash behind. Nicholas already knew a lot of the issues in this discussion and he seemed to feel proud to be one of the "nature experts" among the group.



Mrs. Deb who organized this awesome outing gave each child their own binoculars - made of recycled toilet tissue rolls! How cool is that?!



When we go on nature walks, I usually push Rachel in the stroller but I had talked with Mr. Steve at LISDOLA before the walk today. He said a stroller would be fine but the ride would get pretty bumpy at times. I decided to just carry Rachel in a baby harness. It was my first time to use it and it was comfortable at first but did get heavy as the hiking continued. I was also carrying a backpack full of Rachel's things like diapers, wipes, bottle, bib, change of clothes plus things for the rest of us like suncreen, bug spray, bottled water and lunch for Nicholas and myself. I was really loaded down like a pack mule!



At one of the stopping places along the trail, Mr. Steve had set out some bug jars complete with live bugs for us to look at. After everyone got to view them, we were given empty jars to catch our own bugs in. Nicholas is a great bug hunter so he had lots of fun with this part.



At another stopping spot, Mr. Steve left some hand lenses for the kids to examine things they found up close such as leaves and tree bark.



Of course we had to go on the Unnatural trail where there are 20 items placed along the trail that don't belong there and are unnatural to the setting. Nicholas was proud to tell everyone about some of the objects but I was glad to see that some of the items had changed from last year so that he still had a bit of a challenge.

We also stopped at the spider web. This is a cool interactive tool to show how a spider uses a web to find their food. The "spider" stands in the center of the string web and closes their eyes or wears a blindfold. Then the "bugs" stand on the edges of the web and give gentle tugs and shakes to the web. The spider feels the vibrations in the web and has to figure out where along the web to go to find his lunch.



Afterwards, we all sat for storytime with Mrs. Deb as she read "Diary of a Spider" to us.



Mrs. Deb wrapped up the hike with popsicles for everyone! Thanks, Mrs. Deb!



As we were leaving, Mr. Steve showed us a tree that has the biggest thorns I've ever seen! Take a look...



The front baby carrier worked absolutely beautifully. It was certainly harder on me than having Rachel in a stroller as I was having to carry around her 17 pounds in addition to the ton of weight in my back pack. However, I don't think Rachel would have been happy for the whole hike. The hike started at 9:30 which is when she usually goes to bed for her morning nap. Instead she was all smiles and giggles in her cool baby carrier, looking at the world from a whole new perspective. She stayed happy for the whole hike and we didn't even leave until 1:00 this afternoon!

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