Time to Explore

Did we just detect the tiniest hint of fall in the air? OK, maybe it was wishful thinking but nonetheless those cooler autumn days are coming soon. This is the perfect time of year to explore Charleston’s parks and soak up one of our most beautiful times of the year.

Plus, the kids have been cooped up the classroom now that school’s started so take advantage of the weekends to get them outside where they can get some exercise and burn up some of that energy. Hey, maybe they’ll take an afternoon nap!

We came across a great article in the September issue of [Parents magazine](http://www.parents.com/) called “Little Explorers.” It outlines how to make an explorer kit – perfect for park exploration.

– Choose a park to explore. Use our online park directory to find a park you’ve never been to. Charleston has more than 120 parks and green spaces so there’s a good chance you’ll find at least one that’s new to you and your family.
– Collect items in the park – rocks, leaves, a fallen flower petal and more. Take along resealable bags or jars for your discoveries.
– Record your discoveries either by writing them down, taking a photograph or even pressing the leaves between the pages of a book.

You could even do a scavenger hunt so the kids have a mission to find certain objects in the park. Or give them a map and series of clues that leads to prize. You might have them collect items of a particular color (yellow only!) or a certain size (bigger than a dollar bill!).

More resources:

– [Download this printable field journal](http://www.parents.com/fun/activities/outdoor/printable-field-journal/)from Parents.com.
– [Appalachian Mountain Club](http://greatkids.outdoors.org/) has a great blog with ideas about getting kid into nature. Granted, we’re not in the mountains but the concepts apply here in the Lowcountry too.
– Outdoor Alliance for Kids or OAK has plenty of ideas and resources on its [website](https://sites.google.com/site/outdoorsallianceforkids/get-outside-resources).

Let us know how you’re getting out in the parks and if you have fun ideas to turn your family into outdoor explorers!

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