April 25, 2022

Watch out!  Look down!   There’s a world beyond what you see at your feet.  Those little pesky ants which intrude on picnics or travel through your kitchen are busy keeping their circle of life alive for their colonies.  What might look like a pile of sand or dirt is actually a temperature-controlled nursery with a bunch extra added rooms and tunnels!

During the Spring reawakening, the kids and I come upon these small mound-like craters.  The first reaction for many kids is to wipe the mounds clean with a swish of their foot or hand.  I try dissuade them from the temptation by pointing out the teeny creatures carrying pieces of earth using their mandilbles. These insects repeat this day after day preparing the cubbies under ground for the queen to lay her eggs.

And just like that all that work can be swished away!  Gone.  Only to start building again.  Talk about insects with a goal.

Hiking with kids can be a hurried event including running and passing by special little things .  Here are some hints to help slow down a hike:  focus on the ground and your footsteps as you walk.  Sometimes stopping to draw in the dirt with sticks can be a fun activity. You just might spy little creatures crawling by. 

Another fun tip!
Bring along a magnifying glass.  Stop to look at leaf textures, and maybe even an ant hill. The opportunities for discovery are endless.

If you set the example your child may watch and follow your lead. Give them the tools and with practice it can work! Sometimes it is not necessarily how far you go but what happens along the hike  So, watch your step and take a closer look!   Enjoy the outdoors.