Parenting isn’t a walk in the park, but a walk in the park breathes fresh air into family life. When sibling rivalry and children’s misbehavior make you feel like you’re in the washer’s spin cycle, take a break. Go outside and spy something God made.
Plan an excursion to a nearby park, nature trail, or another scenic venue and ask God to restore your peace and that of your family. Take a deep breath and concentrate on the promise of Jesus, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you” (John 14:27 ESV).
Have you noticed how the blues and greens of nature calm our hearts? The colors God chose when He painted the earth are relaxing and peaceful. Couple those with a dose of fresh air and notice how challenges seem less overwhelming.
Before symptoms of cabin fever provoke cranky attitudes and whiny voices, take a walk in the park.
The colors God chose when He painted the earth are relaxing and peaceful. 12 Tips for a Walk in the Park @jeanniewaters44 #momlife #parents #familyTweet
12 Tips for a Walk in the Park
Choose a few activities for each trip but allow plenty of time for children to run, pretend, and play without numerous directives. Celebrate God’s creation as you walk, laugh, and pray for His peace to fill your hearts.
1. Play “I Spy Something God Made.”
As you walk, each player in turn will say, “I Spy Something God Made” and tell the color of the item they see. Family members may have three guesses. When you stop to rest, pull a Bible verse from a bag, and ask the children to identify something in the verse God made. (Genesis 1:20, Genesis 1:24, Deuteronomy 10:14, Isaiah 40:8, Psalm 19:1, and Psalm 96:11-12.)
2. Hop, skip, and jump.
Challenge children to gallop, skip, and hop during different segments of your walk. Encourage them to imitate animals you see along the way—hop like a rabbit, scamper like a squirrel, or pretend to fly like a woodpecker. Exercise triggers the release of endorphins and creates a surge of energy and pleasant feelings.
3. Plan a friendly competition.
Ask who can spot the first bird, spider web (don’t touch), or wildflower. Have older children look for a particular type of tree or bird.
4. Practice map reading.
If the park posts maps of the property, show children how to follow them. Talk about the symbols, the compass rose, and the map legend. Take a picture and recreate the map at home. Give each child an inexpensive compass and practice following it.
5. Model respect for others and loving our neighbor.
If the path narrows, step off the sidewalk and motion for another family to go first. Smile, nod, or speak briefly to those you pass. Place all trash in the proper receptacles. Ask the children how the Golden Rule applies during your visit.
6. Read signs.
Point out signs and talk about their importance. Examples might include “Dogs must remain on a leash,” “Railroad Crossing,” or “No fishing allowed.” Recreate the signs on the map you draw at home.
7. Take along age-appropriate nature guidebooks.
On one trip, search for birds in the park habitat, and on the next trip, identify trees.
8. Purchase age-appropriate equipment.
Inexpensive plastic magnifying glasses and binoculars add to the fun and sharpen observation skills.
9. Teach trail safety.
Caution children about spiders, mushrooms, and berries. Distinguish poison ivy from Virginia creeper by counting the leaves. Poison ivy plants have clusters of three leaves, so remember three words, “Don’t touch me.” Virginia creeper stems have five leaves that resemble the fingers of a friendly hand.
10. Plan a scavenger hunt.
Call out items one at a time or pre-print a list to include: an oak tree, a fern, animal tracks, moss, a granite rock, a bird nest, a cloud shaped like an animal, a vine on a tree, wildflowers.
11. Make memories.
Take photos and print them later. Display them in a small photo album with the title “Our Walks in the Park.”
12. Plan a picnic.
Include pigs in a blanket or sandwiches cut with cookie cutters. Make ants on a log by spreading peanut butter on celery stalks and adding raisins. Each time, select a guest of honor who will choose the fruit or dessert. Cover the table with oilcloth and write the date of each picnic and a verse you memorized that week.
Break out of the spin cycle and enjoy the blues, greens, and fresh air of God’s creation with your family. If time is short, adapt the activities for your own backyard. Pray for the Lord’s peace and laugh often.
A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.Proverbs 17:2 ESV
I Spy Something God Made: 12 Tips for a Walk in the Park @JeannieWaters44 #Family #Parenthood #springTweet
25 thoughts on “I Spy Something God Made: 12 Tips for a Walk in the Park”
What a great way to go on a “God-venture” Ms. Jeannie. Love these ideas ma’am. And, of course, I love your comment about God’s color palette. My favorite time of the year is when I can look out at my north pasture in spring and see the lush, dark, green rye grass interspersed among the crimson clover and small purple flowers of the vetch, with just a hint of white clover dotting the horizon. Oh, how relaxing just thinking about what I’ll see in another month. Thank you ma’am. You refreshed my morning.
I love your term, “God-venture,” J. D. What a perfect description of a walk in His creation. The sights you mentioned from your pasture view made me want to run outside to enjoy the beauties of God’s world. Thanks so much for commenting and sharing the post. I found the ideas refreshing, too, and I’m glad you did.
Oh, the joy of exploring God’s creation after a long, long winter! Great tips. Thank you!
Yes, Leigh Ann, “exploring God’s creation after a long, long, winter” is joyful and refreshing. I agree. Walking alone or as a family can calm tensions and help us have fun after being cooped up inside for so long.
I want to take a walk with you, Jeannie! these are wonderful ideas for the children in all of us! And they help to point our little ones to god. Thank you!
Kathy, I’m glad you liked the ideas. What fun it would be to walk with you. Afterwards, we could plan art activities together and think of more ways to teach children about God. Thanks for reading.
That would be wonderful!!
You make me want to go take a walk, Jeannie. Homeschooling afforded us a lot of time in parks. Outdoor adventures are sometimes the most educational and memorable.
I agree, Annie. God’s creation is an amazing teacher. Hints of spring are calling me to go outside.
“When sibling rivalry and children’s misbehavior make you feel like you’re in the washer’s spin cycle, take a break.” Boy can I relate!
Jeannie, this post is refreshing and exciting. I’m ready to hit trails and explore God’s creation with my family. Your ideas are practical and fun. My guys are always up for friendly competition and a game of I spy! Thank you and keep sharing your encouraging words!
Dawn, I’m glad the post encouraged you. Happy trails to you! Thanks so much for commenting.
I love this! You’ve given me some new ideas for my walks with my granddaughter!
Erin, I’m delighted you found ideas to share with your granddaughter. What fun you’ll have! God’s creation is a wonderful place to have fun and share God’s goodness.
Jeannie, these were such great suggestions! Love the sweet redirection out of the washer’s spin cycle!!
Thanks, Sylvia. It’s easy to get caught up in the daily “have-tos.” With or without little ones, I find God’s creation refreshing. I’m sure you do, too.
What a great plan for teaching life lessons!
I appreciate you stopping by, Nancy. You’re right—there are numerous lessons to learn on a simple walk. Breathing fresh air helps me relax and regain sight of God’s faithfulness.
Jeannie, I love being outside when the weather is warm and your post gave me the desire to go now. Your points are wonderful ways to get children to enjoy the outdoors and get away from electronic devices. The physical exercise is great for their bodies, and ours too, and also for the mind. Thank you for sharing this beautiful post!
I agree children need less time with electronics and more time for outdoor play, Barbara. I’m looking forward to park time with grandchildren this spring. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
I love this. I wish I a would have had these suggestions when my kids were little. I love to be outside. Living in Montana you don’t have to look hard to see God’s majesty.
I’m sure you see many examples of God’s majesty. I love being outside, too, and studying nature through a child’s eyes increases our appreciation even more. Thanks so much.
Jeannie, this was such inspiration. I play I spy with my youngest Grand often and he loves God so much. He will truly enjoy this new version of I spy. It also took me to beautiful places even if by thought only. THANK YOU SO MUCH! 💗
I’m glad you and your grandson enjoy games together. Games and walks provide a wonderful opportunity to teach biblical truths and create memories. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts.
Another resource-full and God honoring post! My favorites are “Make Memories” and “Plan a Picnic”!