One of the main reasons to walk home from school with your child is to help them develop a connection with nature. Here are some tips for why walking home from school can be a great way for parents to bond with their children and to get some exercise.
When children walk home from school, they have the opportunity to see and experience the natural world around them. This can help them to appreciate the beauty of nature and to learn about the plants and animals that live in their community. Additionally,
Walking Home from School Together
Now that the weather has started to cool off slightly we’ve been having fun walking home after school together. I love avoiding the car pickup line that takes up nearly 40 minutes of my afternoon in a car with a toddler.
I’d much rather spend that time with my daughter talking about her day, exercising, and discovering our neighborhood on our adventures after school. This is something I missed with my son who went to an after-school provider while I was teaching I do know it’s harder in working families.
You can always sneak a walk in before dinner or after dinner too.
Plus I know we can’t always do it but at least trying to fit in one day a week or two will change the way your child sees and learns about their world.
Here are some fun things we’d pass along the way home this week in our neighborhood community. It really creates opportunities for learning around every corner. You never know what you might find in nature if you’re looking closely!
Southern Living helped us to identify the Swamp Sunflower. They are all over our neighborhood right now. Amanda has asked me for years if I want any from her yard, I really need to take her up on the offer they are beautiful! It’s a great fall blooming plant. Just wait until you see her photo this week with her flowers!
My daughter wanted to know how these hanging things got onto the trees. One day we looked up what hanging Moss on Wikipedia. We determined that it’s actually is not a moss at all but an epiphyte plant that grows on another plant but does not rely on it for food.
Spanish Moss is not an air plant neither as it does not have a root system. The plant catches moisture and nutrients from the air through its silvery-gray scales, during droughts the plant just goes dormant until moisture returns. Plus many animals like to use it for making nests.
Here’s a plant that I’ve always told my daughter not to touch as she was tiny to keep her safe and things out of her mouth. She wanted to know, now that she’s old enough if they are really bad for you. I told her we’d look and see because I really didn’t know either.
We discovered that these American Beautyberries actually have some medicinal purposes from the Florida Native Plant Society. In fact, the leaves contain terpenoids that repel fire ants according to one study.
Belize Blooms helped us to identify that we’re looking at Water Hyacinth in our nearby water drainage area. Seems like this plant has some advantages and disadvantages to life in water. They are so beautiful but hard to get a close-up since they’re in the swampy water.
Side note: While running one day many years ago I found a baby alligator here.
Every fall there is one tree I can rely on to start to change when we’re learning about the changes that fall brings. The Sycamore trees turns a pretty yellow if the right cool conditions happen and then it loses all of its leaves. Which if you’re from the South you know that not all trees do that so you have to search for them. According to the School of Forest Resources & Conservation, it is one of the largest broadleaf tree species in North America.
It’s also where we were collecting leaves when we found this little treasure.
Can you name this caterpillar?
We had so much fun coming home and trying to research what type of caterpillar this one. Here are the two main sites that we concluded our results with after looking at a few more. A Prairie Haven has an amazing write-up about the Polyphemus Moth.
We think that we were observing Polyphemus moth, Antheraea polyphemus (Lepidoptera: Saturniidae). Larvae feed on a variety of trees and shrubs, such as apple, ash, birch, dogwood, elm, hickory, maple, oak, rose, and willow. We also discovered online that Polyphemus Moth is one of the biggest moths found in the United States, growing up to a 5.5 inch wingspan. It has brownish-yellow wings with a black and white, wavy line on each. It has a small, mostly yellow eyespot on each forewing (front wings), and larger blue, black, and yellow eyespots on the hindwings. Underneath, the moths’ wings look like dead leaves. Polyphemus Moths are usually found in forests, but can also be seen in marshes and parks.
It’s funny because at Tot School this week there was a big storm and there were many branches knocked down one of the branches had something that looked very similar to their cocoons, all wrapped up in leaves. We’re thinking that this one was at the beginning stages of this transformation.
It’s neat to see things happening around us when we stop to observe.
These are all things that we added to our Printable Fall Journal. Have you found anything special on your Fall Walks?
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