I've grown somewhat tired of playgrounds for a variety of reasons and that, in combination perhaps with reading Charlotte Mason's writings on nature, led me to try to do hikes again. We have a treasure of a forest a ten-minute drive away, with plants, animals, hikes and picnic tables.
Our first hike we went alone and for some strange reason I thought our 12-month-old would walk and we wouldn't need a stroller. Plus they both seem to feel the urge to poo whenever we're outdoors. We sat down and they ate cookies and crawled all over me, which is basically what we do in our living room. So I was about to call off all hikes as failures when I looked in the book the forest provides and learned what a cork oak tree was (pictured above) and pine trees. Then we looked for acorns hidden in the pine needles on the ground. This might seem basic, and it is, because I know NOTHING about plant and animal classification, but it was a game-changer for me. Now I have a goal. Addie is still little, so I still have some years to educate MYSELF on simple nature classification and especially appreciation. I ordered some books online (see above) and am really dedicating myself to this task. We have since been back with neighbors, which is so much nicer, and have tried to include a picnic dinner, which is also nice.