Hmmm………that is a good question. Well, they need food, water and air. Yes. We aren’t talking that basic here. OK. Then they need love. Now we are getting somewhere. And they need to love and run and jump and touch and smell and taste and drink life in. Yeah, now we are cookin’!! They need time outside, in the dirt, in the water, touching worms, smelling the mugwort, tasting mustard flowers, seeing the pelicans and wearing their hoodies backwards so they can pretend they too are pelicans. They need to feel the wind on their faces. They need to see the sun glisten in the water and smell the bay smell and collect little stones and make birthday cakes in the sand. They need time to make paint with rocks and paint their faces. They need to walk in the creek and feel what it is like to have their shoes, socks and pants get wet. The magic that happens when they have the chance to experience this kind of childhood living is wonderful to see.
This is what Leaping Lizards is about. And it should be what childhood in general is about. Kids don’t need more screen time or more academics shoved down their throats. They need time outside, plain and simple. Summer is approaching. Warm weather, longer days, vacations. Take an evening walk with your kids, go to the beach, find your local nature preserve and go. Just go…. outside. And the amazing thing is that these are experiences we all need no matter what our age.
Wishing you all a lovely Mother’s Day….. outside!
How can you go outside when it is raining?! Easy. You get your rain coat, boots and a rain hat and go. Kids love a walk in the rain for all the water play that it offers. And we know all kids love water! Today, I took my group to Foothills Park and we walked up into Wild Horse Valley to the end of the road. The creek was surging with large amounts of the magical stuff, the giver of life, water. The kids made boats out of leaves and logs, threw stones down the culvert to listen to the “music” that the rolling of the stone made as it made its way to the other end of the culvert, we looked for bones that had been washed down by the water, Erika and Juna and Llew made mud pies and mud cakes. Everyone found the sensual pleasures of wetness and textures and none of us minded the cold. So long as one keeps moving, and kids are perpetual motion, one stays warm. Jumping across the rivulets of water was a good game too. Much fun awaits us all if we just dare to go outside and feel our way along in the wet weather. Other good places to go on a rainy day are Huddart Park or Wunderlich County Park.
As always, think outside the box for your entertainment, remember to connect with nature and leap on.
Today we hiked from Vista Hill at Foothills Park down Chamise Trail to Boronda Lake. This is a great hike on a sunny, cool day. The .7 mile hike is downhill to the lake but then it is, obviously, uphill back to your vehicle. The one thing to be aware of though is that Foothills Park is open only to Palo Alto residents. Sorry.
Along the way, be sure you watch for the poison oak off to the sides along the trail. After you make the turn to go toward the lake, you don’t have to worry much about it though. Today we saw checkerspot butterfly caterpillars on the sticky monkey flower plants in the draw below the bridge along this trail. The kids were thrilled to see the fuzzy little gray guys munching down the leaves.
Once we were at the lake we saw a handsome cormorant sunning itself on the boat dock. A ruddy duck sat next to it, curiously. Our noises scared them both away. What a surprise! Clearly hiking with 8 three and four year olds is not a quiet proposition. I collected sticks to be used as “fishing poles” and immediately the kids wanted to begin to “fish.” There is usually enough floating plant material in the water next to the dock for the kids to scoop up. One of my little guys called out ” Look, I caught an eel!” after catching a long piece of tule leaf. The kids decided that they were going to “bake” the fish. I have the kids lie down on their bellies when fishing which makes it less likely for them to launch themselves or each other into the water! It was a lovely day for us all.
Happy hiking and leap on!