This weekend is National Wildlife Foundation's Great American Backyard Campout, which has the goal of connecting kids (and adults) with nature. I wholly support the goal but, after back surgery last year, camping is not on the menu.
I've found an every-day way, though, to get the kids - and myself - outside and truly connect with nature. Years ago, my kids saved up for a cheap-o digital camera for a National Park trip. For the last year or so, those cameras have gathered dust. Until genius - or desperation - struck!
On one long and activity-less weekend day, I handed my complaining 11 year old his camera and instructed him to go outside and take pictures of bugs. Why bugs? Because they are easy to photograph. Pollinators especially. You can usually get a good shot of them while they are busy gathering pollen. Throw in a few rollie pollies and maybe some flowers - which are even easier because they don't move!
My 11 year old's photograph of a Shasta daisy.
We regularly take our cameras into the back - and front - yard now. We snap pics of insects, birds, squirrels and our resident chickens.
Backyard Birding: A Western tanager feeds its juvenile in our garden.
A camera in tow gives hikes or even a walk down the street a new dimension. Spot the rabbit, the deer, the butterfly, the lizard!
A lizard suns itself on a local hike.
We pack up the cameras when we visit the grandparents, the aunts and uncles, go on vacation.
My 11 year old's photo of a honeybee in his grandparents' garden.
So, while it may not be a camp out, get your camera out this summer and explore the great outdoors - or at least your own backyard.
This post is part of the Homestead Barn Hop, Backyard Farming Connection, Maple Hill Hop and Tuesday Garden Party.