Family walks and hikes: A guest post from Andrea Coventry

Keeping your elementary children entertained and educated over the summer months can feel like a daunting task. The new trend is to overschedule everyone in expensive summer camp programs. Kids need some down time to just be kids, though. Family hikes and walks can provide plenty of opportunities for relaxation, bonding and learning.


Check the Internet for hiking trails near your area. You can find all kinds of maps and recommendations. Some trails are specifically geared toward educating children and adults about various plant and animal species, habitats and even physical endurance. Keep your eyes open while you are out and about running errands, as well. Some trails and parks are somewhat hidden and not always detailed online.


Work together to determine a plan. Remember to start small. Carry a map. Make sure everyone eats and uses the bathroom before you head out. Especially in this summer’s heat, bring plenty of water for everyone.


Bring a digital camera to record different animals and plants you encounter along the way. You’ll also find some great family shots that will bring back lovely memories for years to come. If you find something you cannot identify, you can look it up on the Internet or visit your local library to research it. Go in reverse and create a scavenger hunt ahead of time. Collect items by taking their pictures. Turn it into a game to see who can find the most species.


Some of these parks and trails also offer some history. You can take the same path that explorers took and visit some famous former homesteads. Try to imagine what life would have been like back then. See if you can recreate some of the situations.


Remember to check out local cemeteries, too. Larger ones have plenty of areas to walk. All are full of all kinds of history. Make up stories about people whose headstones you see. Sneak in a little math by trying to figure out how old someone was when he or she died. Use this time to teach respect as you carefully navigate the pathways. It’s also a great time to share family history and memories.


Andrea Coventry is a Montessori child, now Montessori educator, dedicated to bringing learning and happiness to all children. She loves to read and write on a variety of topics. Access her book blogs and other works via her website at

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Posted on 2 July '12 by , under Free lesson plans and ideas, Guest Blogger.

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