What is hiding in the bushes? How deep is this stream? I can check this out with my stick!
When out in the woods climbing hills or mountains and with kids who complain they are bored or tired can be too much! Especially when they want to touch everything, see all the holes and check water streams with their bare feet. Keeping them safe and busy can be really easy. How? Ask them to find a good stick!
How a simple stick keeps kids busy and learning:
- they can check bushes, grass and shrubs for insects, spiders, bugs etc.
- they can interact with the environment by touching and moving things with their stick
- they can move and push things easily to see what is underneath etc. (leaves, pebbles, cones, etc.)
- they can see the immediate result of their interaction with the environment (what happens if…, cause and effect)
- they can use a stick to support themselves when walking
- they can learn how to explore the environment safely using a stick and how to assess risks (muddy area and water depth testing, removing obstacles on their way, etc.)
How a stick can help children stay safe:
- children will satisfy their curiosity and interact with the environment without touching things with their hands and fingers. This will help them avoid bites, scratches, burns, cuts, etc.
- children can check the depth of water, puddles and muddy areas with a stick to test if they are safe to cross, get in or if it is better to avoid them. This will help children understand that they need to check the area first before deciding to access it.
- children can avoid trips, slips and falls when they support themselves with a stick. This will also help children understand the nature of risks when in the woods or in climbing mountains especially falling rocks, slippery paths, unstable ground etc.
- children can remove obstacles on their way
Pay special attention:
- children should avoid touching and poking animals with sticks. Animals may feel threatened and may try to bite, scratch, excrete poisonous substances or attack children
- when testing depths of waters always monitor your children. Discourage them from testing if water seems to deep
- remind children to be sensitive with natural environment and other people while using their sticks
- make sure your children can use sticks without hurting themselves (especially their eyes)
- monitor your children at all times depending on their age, stage of development and individual needs
Things to take with you when in the mountains/woods:
- hats, sunglasses and suitable clothing to protect your children from the sun and wind
- good and comfortable walking shoes or sandals (avoid flip-flops, slippery shoes and laces, especially for young children to avoid trips)
- sufficient amount of still drinking water
- charged mobile phone with sufficient credit on it
- a map of the area
Photo location: Poland, Karpacz
See also our video presentation on You Tube: In the Woods with Kids