Before we left on vacation we went ahead and subscribed to Geocaching.com and figured out how to use the phone app. Then we downloaded a bunch of caches in Ontario so that once we changed our phones to airplane mode we would still have the information we needed. Geocaching is a fun activity that involves following a compass to a set of coordinates where a small box is hidden. The larger geocaches often have items to trade (small toys, decks of cards, keychains) as well as a log book to sign. Before we left we also created our own collection of items to leave in geocaches we might find on the trip. We chose seashells, robot rings, flingable rubber chickens, sticker sheets, and matchbox cars. It was a small amount of effort to invest in an activity that proved to be wonderful for our family. We got outside more, we explored areas we wouldn’t have bothered with otherwise, and the promise of a box kept the kids going when they otherwise might have complained about the heat, bugs, etc. They both loved the moment of opening the cache to see what treasures were inside.
We also used our vacation to draw the wildlife we saw on our trip. I made these nature journals earlier this summer out of a couple old Braille books that were destined for the recycling. Braille had a big change earlier this year which rendered many of the older books unusable. Instead of throwing them out I rescued them and had the kids decorate the hard covers with bug and butterfly stickers. Inside we drew pictures of loons, sandhill cranes, water snakes, and all the things that we don’t usually see at home in Maryland. It was a good art project at a time when we were limited on supplies and it will help the kids remember our vacation. This becomes really important in the dead of winter.
Some great nature discoveries were made geocaching. This cicada must have hatched right before we came along looking in tree knot holes for a geocache treasure. You can see that its wings were still too wet to fly away. It was a great example of the new animal and the old exoskeleton side by side. Always fascinating.
Our daughter found this bird’s nest next to a playground in Rochester, NY. It was only two feet off the ground so the kids could look right into it. The inside was full of soft dandelion fluff.
The nest was a great find because right before we left on vacation we studied this great book about nests. We highly recommend it and the other nature books by these authors.It was wonderful to go on vacation- our kids are finally old enough that it seems worth it now;) What a lovely change!