Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Taking a Wonder Walk

In the summer of 1998, I was a summer camp counselor at the most amazing camp of all time, Camp Barakel.  The first time I set foot on the grounds of Camp Barakel was when I showed up for training; I never camped there as a kid and I had heard about it from a friend of mine in college.  It was an awesome summer, to say the least. Camp Barakel, a tool in the counselor arsenal was to take your campers on a "Wonder Walk."  The point of the walk was to be very purposeful in looking for signs of our Creator, seeing God's hand in the beautiful world around us.  Fast forward 13 years (YIKES), one husband, and two kids later...I am doing some sort of task, my mind NOWHERE NEAR Camp Barakel, and I say to myself, "I should take the kids on a Wonder Walk."  That, folks, is how my brain works.  It's crazy.  This came to mind a couple of weeks ago and we finally got around to doing it yesterday.

Before going on the Wonder Walk, I really hyped it up to my kids and by the time we went outside they were pumped.  We talked before heading out that we were going to look for signs of spring using all of our senses.  We made predictions about what we might observe outside and took a chart out with us on which we could record our observations.  Armed with our chart, two cameras (one for the kids and one for me), and a magnifying glass, we were off for a Wonder Walk!

Abby with her hand by her EAR listening for signs of spring.

Using our EYES to look for signs of spring.

We did see a worm, a dead one, but a sign of spring no less.

Feeling the flowers.

Feeling buds on the trees.  Abby...not so into it.  Eli said, "It feels like my Special Pillow."  Special Pillow is his little lovey and it is made of fleece.  Great comparison, buddy.

Eli took these pictures.  He specifically took the one on the left to be "just purple flowers."

And the picture Abby took...with a little help from Mom.

Here I am recording our observations.  There is nothing like a good, organized chart.
Our chart...I couldn't get them to taste anything, but we did "lick the air" and Eli said it tasted like air.  How else would one describe the taste of air, I guess.  When we came inside we reviewed our chart.  I asked the kids what their favorite part of the Wonder Walk was.  Abby said the flowers.  Eli said playing, which we did when our official Wonder Walking was complete.  I asked him which box playing would fit in...he said it needed its own box.  I love, love, love watching his brain work!

After our Wonder Walk, we sat at the table and had a snack over which we chatted about all of the wonderful things God has created.  God is bringing spring, bringing new life and we had a wonderful time looking intentionally for it. 

Then later in the day it snowed.  Ahhhhhhh Michigan.


  1. This is a great post and idea, sarah! i took a class last summer on youth gardening and we did an activity very similar to this. what a great way to help kids appreciate nature!

  2. Sarah,
    I love all of this!!! What a blessing to be home with your kids. We should get together this summer and do a wonder walk (or hike on some trails!).....
    Your family is so precious!!! I am actually home on a snow day-and we will be making some treats. Baking with kids is the BEST! Take care:) Erica Anderson

  3. Man, you're on a roll for nabbing mom of the year! I admire all the cool things you do with your kids. I am glad to have your website because when I get ready to do these things I won't have far to look for great ideas.

    Keep up the good Mommy-Teacher work!! :)

  4. Maia, Thanks for reading! I bet that was an amazing class. I need you to be my personal gardening tutor; I have no idea how to do it, but would really like to. :)

  5. Erica,
    It is, indeed, such a blessing to be home for this season in life. I try to never take it for granted. I would love to get together this summer...Let's do it! I hope you enjoyed your snow day. :)

  6. April,
    It is definitely fun to use the gifts of teaching God has given me at home. My kids are watching TV is I type of the year is out. :)

  7. Chip off the old mom Block. Gpa Z