Nature Girl

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The Princess loves all wildlife, any kind of critter except bugs. She and her grandma spent time decorating birdhouses last month. She can’t wait to put this up in our yard!

My children are not known for wanting to leave the house.  As a matter of fact, I think that if I were to tell them tomorrow that I would never again make them go anywhere that they would be thrilled beyond belief.

I guess that’s not entirely true. The Princess has taken a keen interest in the outdoors this spring. Last year she was so terrified of bugs that she barely set foot outside.  This year she’s a little braver (unless of course it’s a wasp, and then I don’t blame her there).  She spends a lot of time in our fenced in back yard, especially when Evil Genius needs help in his garden.  He calls to her when he gets home every afternoon and she beats it out there to help him inspect the veggies.

Planting the garden.

Helping Daddy plant the garden.

Despite her newly found interest in the outdoors, she has been fighting me any time I want to go out of our yard for walks.  This would be because I told her that when she was five she would be too big for the stroller.  Once she actually turned five and realized that she had to work for it, our walking time pretty much came to a screeching halt.  It’s too bad because I miss those walks, but I need to stand my ground, because she really is getting too big to fit!

Through bribery we have made a couple of successful attempts out recently.  Both times she was on her little Barbie scooter, and both times we were thwarted by rain.  Not just a little rain, each time it let loose and caught us in a downpour.  And it has just rained, and rained, and rained these last few weeks.  Even the days without rain have been wet because the ground doesn’t get enough time to recover between rainy days.  We had a drought last year, so we certainly don’t want to complain much about the ample supply of rain!

So imagine my delight (and surprise!) when she asked if we could take a little walk together this past week.  I hurriedly got ready and rushed out the door with her before she could change her mind.  I expected we would go to the end of the block and she would be done with it.

As it turned out, she had an agenda.  She wanted to go on a nature walk.  Our little walk turned into a lovely long one as she explored and gathered the nature that our little rural Iowa town has to offer.  This was a wonderful learning experience for her.  She learned the difference between a wildflower and something that someone has planted.  We picked all kinds of wildflowers along the way.  We looked at different kinds of mushrooms.  We touched moss and felt different kinds of rocks.  She collected sticks, rocks, nuts, and interesting looking leaves.  Her little hands were full, so I had to carry her flowers for her.

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Iowa nature-wildflowers and mushrooms.

We agreed that we needed to do this again.  Next time we decided that we would take a basket or a bag, and she could collect nature treasures to her little heart’s content.

Even once we returned home she wasn’t finished with the outdoors just yet.  She took me on a tour of the backyard, and told me all about our garden and all of the wonderful things growing in it.  She’s particularly excited about the strawberries and cherry tomatoes, the two things that I will be shocked to see actually make it into our house before being devoured.

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The Princess showing off her strawberries.

I was further surprised the next day when she begged to take another nature walk right after breakfast.  She spent quite a bit of time convincing her brother to agree to go, and then actually get him excited about the walk.  He was leery until she mentioned that they might be able to gather some pine cones.  I’m not so sure what is so exciting about that, but he was actually interested and that was all I needed to hear!

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She was so excited! Her brother was somewhat less so…

Armed with baskets and buckets (and my camera) we showed him all of the wonderful things we had seen the previous time.  He was interested at first, but once he collected his nature findings he quickly tired of it.  He continued to lag further and further behind, catching up with us for a minute or two and then start dragging his feet again.  She wanted to keep walking and walking, while he just wanted to get back home to examine his treasures. My children are indeed opposites in this respect:  she is about the journey, he is about the destination.

Once finally home they went happily running to the backyard to sort all of the things they had found. This was unfortunately cut short by yet another rain shower.  At least mother nature allowed us to finish our walk this time!

We have continued to take these little walks whenever we can.  Each time she has a different motive for wanting to go out. The last time we went on our walk she made sure to announce to everyone we passed that she was collecting smooth rocks because she wanted to paint them.  I love it.

While her brother prefers books and electronics, the world is her classroom.  She is so full of questions, and wonder.  I hope she continues this love of nature clear into her adulthood.  She is my little nature girl.

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There she goes, our very own nature girl.

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38 thoughts on “Nature Girl

  1. Outdoors…do they have video games there? Is that the place with the sun…the trees…and those annoying people? I’m only playing…the outdoors can be fun…with the right alcohol and of course the right woman.

  2. There’s a big difference between living in a metro area and living in the country when discussing being outside. Growing up with a farm as my back yard, there was always something to have fun doing and new things to discover. Now, however, I quickly grow tired of all the sirens blaring by and the cars thumping to a rap beat. Still, the older I get, the more I love the convenience of being in a metro area … until the next car with a rap beat goes by, that is. Your daughter looks like she loves it now. In a few years, that will change as she chats on Facebook, discovers video games, and texts her boyfriends back and forth. lol Good post!

  3. Wow, your daughter reminds me of me when I was a kid (and her brother in the one picture reminds me of my brother!) I’m a biology major (I LOVE plants!) If you’re interested, a lot of large universities offer summer programs for children.

    If there is a large university near you, you can see if there are any program you could enroll her in. Seems it’s grad students and ed students who run these programs (giving field experience to college students) and a once in a lifetime opportunity for children like your daughter. I really wish I’d joined one of these programs or went to a themed summer camp (there are marine biology ones, etc.)

    Bravo to your daughter, by the way. Thank you for sharing!

    • We live right by Ames Iowa, home of Iowa State University! When she is a little older I may investigate some of those options. We do have a nice nature reserve near here that I’m hoping to take them both to later this summer! Thank you for commenting and for the tips!

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  5. I think that is gret that she is so curious and full of wonder, a great way to enter adulthood. Though your son may just invent some new computer programming or technology…you never know.

    I love the photo of the two of them walking. He looks like he is walking to have his teeth pulled…LOVE IT.

  6. Love this!! That is so fabulous that she loves being outside and exploring her world. I hope she keeps that up for a lifetime. 🙂 I found your page on TGIF Blog Hop and love it! I’m following you now. Hope you stop by my blog and say hello.

  7. I love these pictures! Good for her for being a “nature girl”! We need so many more of those! My son is like this too. Even though we live in the city, he constantly demands “outside! outside!” He loves everything about the outside: twigs, leaves, trees, grass, flowers. He’s also a collector!

  8. Pingback: Nature Girl | Muses from the Deep Gazette | Sco...

  9. I just love that once your daughter found something interesting outside she totally conquered her fear.

    And your son’s expression in that picture is just priceless. Can’t stop laughing.

  10. Wow, it’s great that your children love the outdoors so much! My niece and nephew are born to be “outside kids” and always love going outside. You definitely gave me ideas for what I could do with them when they’re old enough! Thanks for sharing this awesome story, Sarah!

  11. I love this! I grew up in a house with a big backyard and there were two more adjoining houses of my friends with similar yards. So, we all three basically had the run of three exciting and different worlds every day! So many discoveries to make! So glad your girl loves that aspect too!

  12. Sarah
    This is AWESOMELY excellent and I’m so psyched that you and your kids had such a great walk. Love it! And your photos in this post are absolutely beautiful. I never really want to go outside but I always love it so much when I do!

    • We do! Last night we went to visit a friend in a neighboring town, and of course the kids wanted to take a nature walk on his property. HA HA! Thanks for stopping by!

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  14. How cool! The world is definitely a classroom :). She’s like my little one – always in awe of the world anytime we go outside! Thanks so much for sharing her nature adventure with us @ My Favorite Posts SHOW OFF Weekend Blog Party!

    Jessica
    The Wondering Brain

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