When the temperatures stay consistently in the 70s, you’ll find us in a creek. My feet are in the water, and my children (and husband) up to their stomachs in ice-cold water.
There are some fantastic benefits to playing in the creek (aside from just the fresh air and Vitamin D). I’ve noticed that in the water, more so than on the hiking trail, my children’s natural curiosity comes out, and I need to brush up on my 1st-grade science.
The boys catch tadpoles with their nets, in the stagnant parts of the creek and ponds prompting a conversation about metamorphosis. Caterpillars aren’t the only creature that undergoes profound changes in fact, there are many transforming insects to discover.
They find crawfish under rocks and small logs, sparking conversations about habitat and the food chain. What kind of animals eat crawfish—do people eat crawfish?? Yes!
Now, we get to plan a low country crawfish boil, complete with corn, red potatoes, smoked sausage, and some Tony’s Cajun seasoning. Will they like eating this freshwater crustacean? The jury is still out.
Everyone wants to skip rocks and MUST know why it bounces across the water when dad does it but not when mom does. If you want to learn more about the science behind skipping rocks, this is an excellent article by Science ABC.
I try to keep in my car the things we will need to make a spontaneous creek day a success. I swear, sometimes I feel like I lug around everything but the kitchen sink and still manage to forget things. These are the items I don’t like to be without on a warm day outside. Let me know if there’s something you like that I’m forgetting!
- Folding chairs.
- Microfiber towels if you’ll be hiking in. Standard towels if you’re close to a car.
- Water shoes. I use these with my kids because I’m too cheap for the Native’s, and I’ve noticed they tend to come off in muddy areas.
- Nets and pails. Having enough for everyone is crucial, even the extra kiddo that tags along. These pails are collapsible, so an easy hiking addition.
- Trash bags. We use this collapsible trash can on our camping trips. It is also great for playing in the creek.
- Picnic lunch.
- Change of clothes for everyone.
These are some fantastic picture books about frogs. Of course, one is by our favorite non-fiction children’s book author, Gail Gibbons.
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