May 21, 2012

Tyke Hike at Rancho Sonado

We are so fortunate to have found some resources for kid-themed nature activities in our new home. This weekend we participated in one sponsored by Inside the Outdoors.

walking up to the nature center to start the hike

Saturday morning we headed to Rancho Sonado (in Silverado) for our second Tyke Hike. This one was themed "Where the Wild Things Are". Conveniently, M requested a book about monsters at bedtime on Thursday this week (I am really not sure where this request came from...), so we started obliged with said book, hoping to prepare him with some key elements from the book. Our favorite element is when Max tells the monsters to "Stop!" We also practiced roaring our terrible roars, gnashing our terrible teeth, rolling our terrible eyes, and showing our terrible claws. The hike was cute all around. For one, my son's friend (and his mom) joined us, and the two were incredibly cute together. They held hands going up and down the hills, and copied each other when they fell or even coughed. 

enjoying the sand toys
One thing I particularly liked about the program itself was that as a mingling agenda item, they put out a bunch of sand toys for this kids to play with in the gravel drive. They all would have been happy if that were the only activity for the next hour and a half. 

making crowns (like Max's) from nature materials

However, our first task was to hunt around to find some nature objects to decorate a crown with (like the one Max wore when he was king of the Wild Things). I can't say that M really got this concept, but he obliged in walking around and playing with random leaves (and promptly dropping them when he moved on to the next thing) and stopping to look at lizards. Luckily the staff had pre-gathered some materials, and M colored on his strip of paper while I helped taped some of our objects to it. He wore the crown some.

The next 'leg' was walking around the lake (where we saw fish and stink bugs and M and his buddy happily dawdled) to a circle of tree stumps where the kids sat and listened to one of the guides read the title book. M was very still and enthralled for the whole thing. He only got up once to chime in excitedly.

reading Where the Wild Things Are

Then we had a "wild rumpus" back to the classroom area where we went on a make-believe hike and got to pet (real) animals we encountered along the way. These included a snake, a salamander, a tortoise, a bunny rabbit, a tarantula, and a chinchilla. M was only up for petting a few of these, but I was very surprised at how many he remembered on all his own when he recounted the animals for his grandparents later. Especially the "itsy itsy spider". Oh, we also learned that supposedly Hollywood got its name from the Toyon plant (that looks like holly but isn't) that was abundant there when people settled it. What do you think about this theory?
petting a salamander

Needless to say M was sufficiently worn out and took a 3-hour nap after a little lunch when we got home.

I enjoy these opportunities to get outside, and can only imagine how much more fun it is for the kids (especially the ones just a bit older).

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