Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Try these easy outdoor activities during Take a Child Outside Week

Posted September 27, 2011

We're in the middle of Take a Child Outside Week, an initiative of the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences that is celebrated across the country.

The aim is to get more parents and kids outside to explore nature.

At my house, we try and spend as much time as we can outside. In the last couple of days, we've searched for pine cones, puddles and worms and talked about the leaves that are just now changing colors on the trees. My two-year-old likes to collect the pecan shells that the squirrels have thrown on the ground. We have a small bucket by the back steps for collections of these sorts. You'll find pebbles, sticks, leaves and all kinds of treasures in there too.

The N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences offered up some other outdoor activities that you can do this week, or any time, with your kids. I thought I'd share them. Here's what they recommend:

  • Make a Date with the Moon: A monthly journey outside to look at the full moon.
  • Spritzing spider webs: Discover the architecture behind spider webs by using spritz bottles.
  • Leaf number search: Find and identify leaves with one to ten points and beyond.
  • Shadow search: Use chalk to trace a shadow on the sidewalk, come back later to see how the shadow has moved and learn why.
  • Animal tracks: Locate animal tracks in the dirt and cast them in plaster.
  • Outdoor sculpture: Follow sculptor Andy Goldsworthy's lead and create sculptures using only tools found in nature.
  • Shape search: Find common shapes (square, circle, triangle etc.) in nature.
  • Color search: Identify colors of the rainbow found in nature.
  • Bird song: Listen for a bird call and attempt your own imitation.

The museum's Prairie Ridge Ecostation in west Raleigh will hold a free event from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. this Friday, the last day of Take a Child Outside Week. Explore the ecostation and take free guided walks that will start every 30 minutes. The last walk begins at 5:30 p.m. All ages welcome. Kids 15 and under must be with an adult. No registration is required. Just show up. A reminder: Friday is a teacher workday for many kids in Wake County schools.


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