I like to provide plenty of opportunities for the children to explore nature. Even though we are near downtown and there are many major roadways we still manage to find nature in the city. We go on many, sometimes lengthy, hikes around the neighbourhood in all types of weather. On our last post storm adventure the toddlers walked 4.4 km in search of puddles to splash in – we traced our route on Google Pedometer when we returned.
If I was the only one choosing destinations we would always be hiking through forests but the children often have other interests and I let them lead. One of their favourite destinations is the river – particularly watching it from the middle of the nearby bridge. We often go up one side of the bridge, stop in the middle to watch the river flow away and then hike down to the corner so we can cross the street at the intersection before heading back down the other side of the bridge to watch the river flow towards us.
We see the changes in the river as the ice begins to form in the fall and as it breaks up in the spring. The children notice – and express concern over the things we see floating down the river. Sometimes they prefer to sit on the hill in the park to watch the river – the ‘stuff’ in the water is less noticeable from there. It is also much quieter without the all the traffic noise from vehicles on the bridge.
During the beautiful summer weather we have been venturing further away – our longest hike this summer was 7.8 km. On many of our longer walks we have gone to ‘the other bridge’ – which is actually TWO bridges – bonus. Even though it takes longer to get there there are two reasons we love to visit this bridge. First, the children get really excited as we approach the bridges.
It is here that they begin calling out “Echo, Echo where are you Echo?” Their excitement and volume increases dramatically when we are directly under the big bridge. Here the echo is fabulous and they can see the little bridge too!
The little bridge is for pedestrians only so it is much quieter than the busy bridge we usually visit and it doesn’t shake when big trucks pass over. That feature of the old bridge is a little scary for some of the toddlers. There are also several lookout points on this bridge – of course our favouite one is right at the top in the middle of the bridge.
At the lookout point the children may spend as long as they want watching the river. On this particular day they were looking for submarines and unicorns. Rivers and bridges are magical places. 🙂