After reading Last Child in the Woods I've had this desire to find opportunities for both myself and my daughter to be outside. We've been out on the playground a few times. I try not to cringe too much when her brand new Gymboree outfits get stained with mud and grass. I've learned my lesson the hard way- buy cheaper clothing. The money I could make from resale is worth less than the value of natural learning experiences. Now my wishlist includes mud boots and rain jackets, sticks and stones for the nature "table", and more fresh fruits and veggies straight from the farm.
If you've never checked into your local parks or nature centers I urge you to start now. They can offer budget-friendly opportunities for creating fun family memories. We were out at one of my favorites yesterday, Springbrook Nature Center. It's a fairly small nature preserve surrounded by stores such as Walmart, a mall, fast food joints, and apartment complexes. For all of it's girth it packs a neat little toddler-sized punch. There are wood-chip lined paths in addition to the main paved one. If you're dealing with tiny legs the paved path is the perfect length for a stroll without getting them so tired that you end up becoming their own mode of transportation.
Now, on this particular night they were having one of their family summer evening programs. Specifically it was Insects of the Praries and Woodlands Hike & Sweep. The cost wasn't bad at all- $3 for adults, $1.50 for children. Considering the price of movies and that this is a non-profit preserve run largely on donation I'd say it was money well spent. We even got some pictures while we were out there....
When we got back from sweeping for insects our guide set up a live show with a microscope & projector
Doesn't this look like a preying mantis? It's actually a damselfly.So if you have the time DO check into your local nature center. You never know what gems you might find! ^^