After leading my first meetup, I found myself wondering the best ways of supporting these families and children in their experience with nature.

Some of the families are very unfamiliar with the types of activities we are doing; their kids don’t spend much time outside in nature and the families sometimes appear hesitant and uncomfortable. During our meetup, there were seven year old and three year old siblings who asked a few times “what are we doing here” and “when can we go back to the park/home.”

My thoughts having been focusing on what the most gentle, easy-going, and fun ways to provide families with a meaningful nature experience. The biggest struggle I see is maintaining a balance between unstructured time in nature and the fact that some families might feel overwhelmed when they’re essentially thrown out into something different with no idea what to do. While this unfamiliar-ness and new found freedom might be exactly what they need, I don’t want it to be so overwhelming that they don’t return in the future.

My thought was that perhaps I could bring a mix of structure/unstructured and familiar with unfamiliar. The idea of an opening activity might help ease some of the unease of new people and new places. I’ve been considering trying a scavenger hunt or geocaching activity and I know some of the other groups have done outdoor art projects as well.

[Originally written October 7, 2013. It’s been a busy months and we’ve had three other get-togethers since I wrote this, but these are my initial reflections]

 


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