Hot Topics     Home and Family    

Take a walk on the wild side with your kids



Easy nature walk ideas

kids, nature, walk

The Hudson Valley offers an abundance of nature areas to explore from state parks, to municipal nature paths, and from neighborhood preserves to your own back yard. The walks can take an hour, up to three, depending on the age and interest of your child. But, rest assured, that despite any pushback from your kid, once they’re on the open road, their attention will turn to leaves, plants, flowers, butterflies, and any other surprise that comes their way.

Of course, a little preparation is good. We’ve listed some of the important things to consider that make your nature walk adventure very easy-peasy.

How to dress:
Make a note to check the day’s weather for any drops in temperature or pop-up storms.  Kids should be wearing close-toed shoes for sure, and a hat and sunglasses if it’s going to be particularly sunny.

Items to pack:
Each child should have a backpack to carry the treasures they find, a water bottle, hand wipes, and a few healthy snacks, like trail mix, or granola bars to keep up their energy. Just don’t over pack the bag which will make it difficult for them to carry. The adult in the group can take some of these items.

Store a small towel in the car in case your little one decides to jump in some puddles along the way.

Safety items:
A travel first-aid kit for sure. Before setting out, apply safe sunscreen to areas exposed to the sun, and a kid-friendly insect/tick repellent. 

Here are three great ideas for making the nature walk memorable and safe:

1. INVITE YOUR CHILD TO LEAD
If you let your child do the leading, you can keep an eye on them, while letting them decide when to stop, and when to walk on. Ask them questions about what they are looking at, and let them describe it to you, as you “pretend” to not know anything about it.

If you can, leave the stroller in the car and allow your toddler to walk on their own.  Let them explore their world, at their level, whether it be a pine cone or a leaf.  It may make for a slower walk, but a richer experience for your little one. 

2. Create a NATURE COLLECTION theme
Before starting out, decide on what you might want to look out for, maybe things that fell from the trees.  Or small interesting stones.  It will make it more enjoyable when your child finds something that belongs in the collection.  When they are brought home, it can be set out in the backyard as a reminder or on a window frame shelf.

3. Play the Quiet game
The forest, or any nature area, will have new sounds for young ears.  It’s fun to stand quietly and listen to a hawk fly by, or listen to the buzzing of insects around a tree. It teaches “mindful listening,” which can become an enjoyable pastime for kids. It’s also a welcome break from the loud and fast paced world we all live in. Maybe bring a pad and pencil to note down the sounds that they identify.

Author MJ Hanley-Goff, parent and former activities director for a summer camp in Orange County.



Other articles by HVP News Reporters


  • Mental health tips for COVID-era teens

    How teens can tackle their distinctive issues

    Mental health issues in teens can be very distinctive to their age group, but this age group in particular has significant advantages, too. read more »
  • Fun activities for Earth Day

    Celebrate Earth Day with these fun things to do with your family

    HVP has picked some of the best things you can do with your family to celebrate Earth Day. From feeding the birds to recycling household items. read more »
  • 10 ways to celebrate Earth Day at home

    Do something green for the planet on this day dedicated to preserving the Earth

    This year marks the 51st anniversary of Earth Day. This year’s theme is “Restore Our Earth”. Here are some things families can do at home to celebrate from The Old Farmer’s Almanac. read more »
  • Get your kids interested in birding

    Great spots you can watch birds in the Hudson Valley

    NYS has hundreds of species of birds. The Hudson Valley has lots of places where you and your family can observe them. See this list of places to go and what you may see. read more »
  • How to focus on college during these times

    College admissions expert shares 7 great tips

    Halley Shefler, a college admissions expert and the Founder & President of ArtsBridge, offers suggestions on how to approach the college search. Shefler heads a consulting firm that works with high school students who aspire to study the arts. She shares some tips and activities that students should keep in mind to make the most out of their high school spring break. read more »
  • How to be funny, and how not to be

    Famous comedian Roy Wood Jr. offers tips

    Being funny can be a kid’s superpower, but it can also become a weapon to wound. Comedian Roy Wood Jr. helps fellow parents guide children accordingly. read more »
  • How and when to teach kids about homophobia

    A two-mom couple offer tips on having this crucial conversation

    Social media influencers Ebony and Denise, moms of three kids, have some helpful guidance on how and when to broach the topic of homophobia with your family. read more »
  • One dad’s most important parenting lesson

    A father of four shares his number one rule

    According to Swampy Hawkins, father of four, kids need honesty and consistency more than anything. read more »
  • Joyful rest is a necessity

    Evolving attitudes towards taking it easy

    African-American mom Domari Dickinson talks to Popsugar’s Kate Schweitzer about the challenges she faced when she was forced to make time for rest in her family’s schedule read more »
  • Fun & easy Easter crafts for kids

    Make your kids hoppy with these simple crafts

    Kids love to decorate for the holidays. Bring them on board with these Easter crafts to brighten up this special day. read more »