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Posts Tagged ‘outdoors activities for toddlers’

That was the one who stole my sandwich Mom!

This weekend we went up to the Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve for the Family Bird Festival which had been postponed from earlier in the year.  It’s always hard to know what such events will be like but this one, run jointly by the Regional Open Space Preserve and the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society, was quite lovely and perfectly suited for preschoolers.  I loved that it was a very low-key event with lots of ‘old-fashioned’ hands-on booths and friendly, enthusiastic volunteers who were eager to engage visitors.

The Monkey and I even learnt a little about birds.  We had great fun identifying some of the birds we’ve seen in the garden this year on the plentiful birding charts provided.  I was particularly happy to learn that it’s a Oregan Junco that my kids don’t like (apparently it has a mean looking head and likes to peck them whenever I go inside) and that the striking pair of brown, red and black woodpeckers who visit us on occasion are Northern Flickers.

Owl throw-up. Yum.

After we’d checked out the bird charts, we headed over to the dissection area where volunteers showed the boys how to take apart a barn owl pellet.  This booth had been set up with great thought.  First the kids could pull the pellets apart and discover little bones and skulls. Then they could glue the animal remains onto a chart which helped them identify the bones and hence what the owl had been eating.

Dad! The barn owl ate two moles and a rodent

There was also a crafts area where the kids made ‘water cycle’ bracelets and binoculars for bird-spotting, and a science area where the kids could look at, and touch, owl wings, feet and feathers and all different types of local bird nests.  The teen manning the area was impressive in his knowledge of bird biology and habitats and really good at talking to little ones in a way that made sense to them.  I also loved that the festival had set up a shady area with complementary drinks and healthy snacks where visitors could chat to local wildlife enthusiasts.

Checking out the wings

As well as the little exhibition area, the festival also included several docent-led bird walks in the preserve.  We didn’t sign up for any as I was concerned our children would be too disruptive, but from what I saw on the day I think it would have been fine to have taken them along and next year we’ll sign up for one.  Instead of a formal tour, however, we did our own little hike round Horseshoe Lake and the boys had great fun spotting lizards, butterflies, ducks and their perennial favourite, sturdy sticks.

The local wildlife cautiously eyeing our children

The Wing Ding Festival was a really wholesome, educational and fun event and the only thing that made me a little sad was how poorly attended it was. There were maybe ten other families there, and I counted only two other preschoolers besides our kids.  I’m really curious as to why that was.  Was the festival just poorly advertised? (I think events like this don’t receive sufficient publicity and that’s one of the reasons for this blog). Was it too far away? Did it sound unsuited for preschoolers? Or did it just sound too dull? Or is it just that weekends get busy?

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Having spent three hours standing in the rain in a park I didn’t think it was possible that the boys could get much wetter.  But they could.  All the precipitation made them super excited to check out our local creek again this weekend, and to see if it had got any higher.  And of course ‘checking it out’ cannot be accomplished without actually getting in the water.  It was cold but they had fun, and The Monkey spent a long time sailing his cactus leaf boat down the new rapids.  I think I’m ready to be dry and warm again now even if the boys love this weather…

Rule 17 of parenting three-year-old boys: They can always get wetter.

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