Last weekend, I woke up to hear the birds singing and felt the bright sunshine streaming in my bedroom window. I quickly jumped out of bed, opened all the windows in the house and then hurried my family through breakfast….I was ready to play in the sun!
Carter and Ced were feeling my vibe. So we threw the cooler and a blanket in the trunk, ran into our local grocery store to grab some sandwiches and other items to make a picnic, and headed down Interstate 75 south to Dauset Nature Trails.
There is something about these first glimpses of spring that pumps fresh oxygen into your veins. Our family loves being outdoors and a short 45 minute drive down the interstate to a nature preserve was just what this bright spring day was calling for.
I first fell in love with this place when my husband and I were dating. For my birthday my husband bought me a bike and we headed down to Dauset Trails to ride their beautiful bike trails. It was one of the best birthday presents ever and I’ve been smitten with this place (and him ;-), ever since.
Dauset Trails offers much more than just biking and walking trails. They also act as an animal rescue. The animals are separated by farm and wild animals. First up on our trip were the farm animals. Those stinky pigs were calling Carter’s name! As we walked around we came across a real live blacksmith creating links for a chain. Absolutely fascinating watching this old world art being done. Talk about a learning experience! You know my boys were hooked.
Our time with the blacksmith ended when Carter’s attention was diverted by a free roaming rooster that found his way into the blacksmith’s hut….time to go!
Over at the chicken coop my husband, who believes he is an expert…….in everything outdoors (gotta love him), gave Carter a lesson in the difference between chickens and roosters. After a few “quizzing sessions,” Carter walks further down the length of the coop and stops dead in his tracks, eyes wide, gazing at this large rooster captured in the above photo. “Whoa, mommy that’s a BIG CHICKEN!” Needless to say, he still needs more lessons ;-).
I spent very little time near these animals, thus explaining why there are so few photos. The smell was waaaaaaay more than I could handle. I wandered on, finding this bright orange tractor that we all shamelessly had to be photographed riding. I noticed a few smiles from passers by who more than likely found our intrigue with this large farming machine amusing. I realized that I had not seen anyone else treating this object as though it was on display…perhaps it was for actual use on the farm. Ooops!
Exploration is one of the purest forms of learning. As time goes on we will have to revisit places like Dauset Trails and other adventures we’ve found, but I truly believe that exposing our children to the world around them contributes to their success in the classroom and in life. It is never too early to begin exposing them. So far I have seen the biggest impact of our adventures in Carter’s language and critical thinking abilities. His vocabulary and reasoning skills I attribute greatly to his exposure to the world and his ability to call on prior knowledge to make connections in his world.
Below are a few more pics of the wild animals that we observed that day.
As the weather becomes increasingly warmer the days will call for adventure and exploration. I urge you to gather up your little ones and head out into the world. Your excursions do not have to be costly. This trip was the price of three sub sandwiches, a bag of chips and three Gatorades. The park was free to the public, but invaluable to our family!
Remember, have fun! And let the world be YOUR playground!