(Photos, mostly, by Adelaide.)
We've fallen into a really wonderful habit this summer of a regular Woods Walk on our land. This isn't something entirely new, it's just that before I would have called it a walk in the woods where we read a story. But the two youngers attended a few weeks of a lovely local Quaker day camp this summer and there was an official Woods Walk that happened each day. A woods walk that was essentially 'a walk in the woods where they read a story'....but of course there's something quite important to naming things, and making them so official and therefore more special. And so...we do it at home too now. Woods Walks.
This summer has also brought a nice groove by where the three youngest have fallen into step with one another. Or perhaps more accurately, that Annabel's little legs have grown to match her ambition for keeping up with her siblings, while simultaneously their patience for waiting just a little bit for her has grown. And, click! Ah...what a good thing. And among many other things in our days, it sure makes Woods Walks a lot more fun.
We keep it simple, these walks, and they're always different. Sometimes we last for half an hour and read just a few pages and sometimes, like yesterday with a gentle breeze in the woods and no bugs and happily dressed-up adventurous little ones, we were there for two hours. We stopped at three points along the walk for more reading (that way, everyone got to choose a spot). I have the same basket that I keep by the door for just the occasion, and I keep the packing of it simple (because, inevitably, it is full of acorns and mushrooms and leaves by our return). I have a sheet for sitting on (though I'm the only one that does this - the kids usually climb in a tree or lay in the moss), some of our homemade bug repellent, one water bottle for sharing, and most important of all - our current Woods Walk book. I've given some careful thought to the books we bring. I prefer short stories over a chapter book, so that we can finish one tale in a sitting if we'd like. Picture books don't work well because how would you choose between climbing a tree to listen or sitting close to see the pictures? We started out reading some Old Mother West Wind tales by Thornton Burgess. There couldn't be a more perfect setting for reading about the adventures of the little critters of the woods than sitting in the woods and imagining and looking for them ourselves. We then read The Book of Fairy Princes by Isabel Wyatt - another dreamy tale suited just right for the woods, where though we didn't see them, we know that foxes and deer live (and we're searching for Sybil's Bower - we think it might be back there somewhere).
I'm so glad that everyone here agrees that it's always a good day for a walk in the woods....with a book!