Urban Outdoors: Greenways
As we previously stated in our introduction to this series on urban outdoors, we love to go for long hikes on remote trails. This isn’t always possible for us, but there’s another great option that is also available in many other cities – greenways. These are often paved walkways that extend from a few to several miles around and within a city area.
They are really good options for large families, or those families that have multiple little ones and use strollers. They’re great for people who want to walk outside, but don’t have the time or physical ability to complete a hike on uneven and inconsistent terrain. They’re also really wonderful for families like ours, which will sometimes need a place to go quickly for some active leg movement (some days you just have get toddlers outside and moving…a lot...a whole lot). Nashville has an extensive greenway system, and one of the trailheads is just minutes from our house. We spend a great deal of time spotting bugs, trees, plants, birds, small furry creatures, etc. It also runs right past the river, which is always a favorite sight to check out.
We previously suggested a scavenger hunt, checklist or bingo card with items to find in nature (sticks, trees, leaves, bushes, animals, etc.). This same type of activity is fun on greenways or walking around your neighborhood or downtown area. We also really like to use the nature around us to teach basic skills. For example, “find something round” or “let’s pick up five sticks.” One of our daughter’s recent favorites is “guess the animal.” If she hears a noise in the brush she’ll usually ask “what is it,” and we’ll all take guesses until we can spot it for identification.
Do you have any greenways in your area, or have you developed a favorite neighborhood or downtown walking route? What are some of your favorite nature-based greenway games and activities?
There is an amazing (and growing) community of family outdoor/nature bloggers, and we want to introduce you to a few. Although we've never met them in person, we count on them as resources and friends.
Lindsey Wilson is a Nature Rocks ambassador and an environmental educator. Her husband is a biologists, so their family is about as nature and education oriented as you can get. We've found her blog, OutsideMom.com, to be one of the most well written, well researched, and accessible outdoor family blogs around. It seems that all of her posts are top-notch, and that we always leave her site having learned something we will take with us and apply. Please give OutsideMom.com a little Facebook and Twitter love. When you go visit her site, make sure to see Lindsey's post entitled, "Outdoor Teaching Mistakes We Make With Our Kids," it will be a great introduction to the rest of OutsideMom.com.
Thanks for stopping by!
Pablo and Nea