This post is by long-time contributor and super-mama, Leigh.
Hiking is a huge part of summer camp! I remember hiking every day it didn’t rain… and I loved every minute of it! We currently live in central Virginia, and we are only an hour or two away from some fabulous hiking trails that I can’t wait to explore. I also grew up in a pretty rural area with a lot of forests and a lot of time to explore them. But how do you share that experience with a 4 year old and a 2 year old in a fully developed urban/suburban area?
Hike your city’s parks!
Armed with our sit-upons and some creative hiking ideas, and accompanied by a friend, we visited a park in Richmond, VA that we typically don’t get to visit. It’s a lovely park that’s a bit further away from our house than our regular park – and because we don’t typically go there, it was fresh and new!
About a hundred feet in to our hike, we were greeted with a fabulous bridge…
…that took us deeper into a little forest. It is wonderful how cities can carve out pieces of land in the middle of all the development so people can still escape to the woods if they’d like.
There were so many things to explore in our little city park adventure that we didn’t even have to pull out any creative ideas for our hike. They boys were fascinated by everything we encountered and asked plenty of questions without any prompts!
The little creek that the bridge crossed was easily accessible from the other side of the bridge, so we had to go visit the creek and have some fun…
There were several downed trees along the way – so the boys got a quick lesson on the rings of a tree…
…And there were these tree identifying signs along the way that helped us know what we were seeing. I love that – I can tell what an oak tree and a pine tree is, but that’s about it.
The paved sidewalk ended, and we chose a dirt track that I thought would take us around the park in a big circle – and we ran into the creek again! This time, we got to hop over rocks to cross the creek. It was easy to forget that my boys had never done that before – they talked about the creek for the rest of the day!
The trail wandered along the side of the creek for a bit, and we hopped over a couple downed trees until we got back to another paved track…
…that brought us back to the beginning of our hike again.
Another bonus to hiking a city park? The playground awaits you at the end!