If my many many many walks and rambles with small children has taught me anything, it is that no walk is complete without immersing oneself in the world around us. The kids don't just walk along the path. They slowly meander along and look down, up, all around in no hurry whatsoever. The journey is everything. Check that, what you find on the journey is everything. They insist upon picking everything up, from rocks to sticks, to acorns to leaves to discarded plastic to berries to flowers. If it's in their path and it's portable it will be picked up and inspected, tested and played with. Most of these finds are dropped by the wayside but some select few are deemed treasures and make their way home for a visit. I sometimes get a little irritated at the slow pace of the walk and painstaking care they give to the nature finds. "Come on! Let's go!" I want to say. I'm glad I've learned to stifle that voice. I have learned so much from gazing intently at the holes in acorns and the pinecones stripped to a bare stem. Not to mention the joy that wells up inside to feel a little hand slip into mine or a little body nestle up against mine when we stop. I pretend that I am the one teaching them, but quite honestly it's completely the other way around.
Anyone remember those picture puzzles National Geographic Kids would feature? They had a grid of about twelve photos taken really close up and you'd have to guess what each one was. At least I think it was National Geographic Kids. I'm old, cut me some slack.
Anyways, all the nature walks with my little ones inspired me to create a book along the same lines. I went out with the kids and a camera and got up close and personal with some nature finds. I also went out again on my own to throw in a few surprises. The kids cannot get enough of this book. It is something they can read on their own and they love having to guess even though they've memorized what every picture is. I was floored by how accurate their guesses were even on our first reading. These kids know their nature science. Here are a few...how well will you do?