While off in Arizona a couple of weeks back, Bergen (3.5 years old) and I decided to take a break from the hot and dry conditions of the Sonoran Desert, and instead imagined we were in cold and wet Alaska cheering on dog sled teams as they rushed past us. Why you might ask? Well, the Iditarod, dubbed “The Last Great Race” was officially starting that day, and we wanted to catch a little bit of the spirit.
What is it with 3 and 1/2 year-olds and treasures? Is this a thing? Maybe its just our little guy, but lately all he can talk about is treasures, from finding treasures to receiving them as a reward. The good news? Anything can be a treasure. So as long as we call it such, anything can have the potential of being special to him. The bad news? Since everything has the potential to be a treasure, we can spend a lot of time waiting around for a lollygagging preschooler investigating every nook and cranny along our way.
Sometimes it all works out though, like during our visit to the arboretum this past weekend. As soon as Bergen was “released” from the jogging stroller to walk on his own, he requested the use of one of the bags we’d brought along for the dog’s (ahem) deposits. I credited him for his smart thinking! He declared that he was going to search for treasures, and then for the next mile or so, he picked up anything that happened to catch his eye. Rocks, sticks, leaves, blades of grass…they all went in the bag.
If you’re looking for a way to focus walks and hikes with your young children, you might just think about bringing a bag along for collecting! It’s easy, doesn’t require a whole lot of pre-planning, and Bergen was more than willing to toss the treasures back when our walk was complete.
While Bergen was focused on finding treasures, I had the chance to admire early spring in the arboretum. Yes, while the east coast is suffering through snow, ice, and bitter cold, we are experiencing abundant sunshine, flowers in bloom, warmer temperatures, and even (it seems to me) more active wildlife.
Have any more tips on holding kids’ interest while walking and hiking? We’d love more ideas!
You can also check out our other tips for hiking with a preschooler.
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How did you go about choosing names for your children? Or if you don’t have kids, do you know how your name was chosen? Was there a process involved? Maybe you just knew all along…or possibly the name was already picked out for you because of family history or obligations. Whatever the case may be, I think the ways people decide on names is fascinating. .
Amazing, really. I mean, the possibilities are endless, and for me at least, the pressure to choose “correctly” can be overwhelming.
Names got tossed around all throughout both of our pregnancies. One of us would might make a suggestion, and if it was acceptable to both of us, we might write it down on our list. Then, after months of brainstorming, the narrowing down, nitty-gritty decision making happened in the same way: On vacation.
Places often remain wonderful in mind because I haven’t quite discovered all they have to offer. The mystery and unknown give me reason to come back and explore. Magic remains.
Seattle’s Discovery Park is one example. Maybe its because we usually fall into the same routine: Parking in the same area, hiking down the same stairs toward the beach, walking along the same stretch of shore. Still beautiful, but I always knew there was more.
For this visit, I switched it up and we saw several aspects of the park that I’ve never seen. And because of that I have an even greater appreciation for the place. Even better, as you might expect my two little adventurers were also along for the ride, and for one of them (Georgia, 2 months) this was her very first visit.
Environmental Learning Center
I’d heard that there was an indoor learning space here, but never visited myself. So to make sure we had a chance check it out, I made it our starting point. The center proved to be a great spot to get our nature juices flowing. The space is filled with books, puppets, and tons of other hands on materials for little ones to investigate before or after heading off on an outdoor adventure.
Travel with a brand-new baby, unless absolutely necessary, isn’t something we planned to do right away. We planned to take it easy, one day at a time, and gauge the new addition’s temperament and needs. We thought we might venture out, but nothing got written down on the calendar, if you know what I mean.
The thing is though, we’re still those same people who love to explore and stay active even when a tiny bundle is around. Once the family visits had died down, and we had a free weekend, we thought we might as well try out a day trip.
Tacoma isn’t too far, under an hour’s drive from our home in Seattle, and we had on our bucket list to visit the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium. We’re members of our own Woodland Park Zoo, but we were curious as to what was happening “down south” and knew it was an outing the whole family could handle.
What would you do if you were stuck between a Cougar and a Tiger?
A little joke that gets tossed around in the outdoor world as an answer for why Squak Mountain has such a name since it is situated between Cougar Mountain (to the West), and Tiger Mountain (to the East).
I don’t exactly know the real reason for the name–I believe it has to do with the native people of the region–but we did go on a sweet little hike here this past weekend and found our time to be a perfectly pleasant family adventure.
Before welcoming our newest family member into the world, we had one last travel adventure as a family of three. It was important to use to spend some quality time together just before our lives turned upside down with new routines, a new normal, and new responsibilities.
Some time away brought a chance to bond and strengthen our unit, which inevitably brought along a lot of refection as well as anticipation.
What will one more member do to our dynamic?
Surely it could only get better.