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