Our Visit to Oregon Ridge Nature Center

 With me being a stay at home mom of two little ones, I’ve had to learn what a ‘budget’ was. It’s now summer time and my son is only in preschool two days a week until he starts kindergarten next fall. The last thing my rambunctious kids want to do it sit around the house all day.

 So, my goal this summer is to find fun, inexpensive (or free) activities to do with them. Depending on how successful the trips go, I want to write about our adventures this summer. If you live in the Central PA or Maryland area hopefully I can give you some ideas on what you can do with your little ones this summer.

We decided to venture to Oregon Ridge Nature Center this morning. I was very impressed with what they display and for it to be completely FREE. They have exhibits varying from wildlife, history, and more! There are also multiple trails you can walk along to enjoy your own personal nature experience outside of the exhibit.

I want to share some of our favorite activities during our visit. My son was amazed the entire time and although my daughter was a little young to really learn about wildlife, she really enjoyed the scenery.

The wooden bridge outside of the nature center was beautiful. It ran over into the woods so you can start your very own nature hike. It has a great view of the scenery around. It’s a great spot to look for birds, butterflies, and other insects around. They have multiple trails mapped out that include the distance and what stations you can reach along the way, such as overlooks and gazebos.

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Although the honey bees scared my son at first, he was amazed with how many of them we’re in there making honey. I was able to explain the process with him and he learned that bees aren’t harmful, they make delicious honey that he puts on his bread in the morning! They also sell the honey, which I thought was very neat.

The Animal Architecture was my son’s favorite. You are able to push the button of certain animals or body parts and the specific bone lights up so you can learn what each bone is. He was amazed with what is under the skin of animals and how big (or small) the bones could be.

The amount of displayed wild animals, big or small, was a very eye catching and intriguing experience. From the commonly displayed animals such as bears and deer, all the way to beavers and woodchucks. They have fur displays so you can feel what the animals fur is textured like. They are placed all over the exhibit. It was very neat. I enjoyed that part myself.

There is multiple learning stations for kids, such as guessing which birds nest went to each bird, or locating different varieties of trees in the park. Along with the bone game I referenced to earlier, there is multiple other bone structures around also to learn about. They also have a butterfly display that shows you which butterflies are in the area so you can go outside and search for them.

You can’t forget the live animals! We started off at the turtles. I never knew myself how many different breeds of turtles there are. They have a wide variety of different breeds displayed and I could explain each one to my son. They have signs located by each exhibit that gives you great detail about each animal. We also made it by the snakes, fish, and birds also. A great display in my opinion.

There is an outside portion of some different bird and rabbit exhibits, along with a beautiful newly built pavilion which is a perfect place to sit and have lunch. There is also an iron furnace, a restored tenant house, and a sugar shack.

The park also has a dinner theater, a lake, and multiple playgrounds all around.

I am going to definitely keep this place in mind over the summer. My son is already talking about returning and I’m excited to walk the trails!

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100 Ways to Get Your Kids Outside

Happy Spring Everyone!

I am so excited that the weather is final warming up here on the east coast! I’m ready for ice cream dates and playground fun. With my youngest now on the go, I’m really excited for what this spring and summer have in store for us. Last year was difficult because she was so young so getting out was a little tough, but this year she’s able to keep up with her brother and I know they are going to have a blast.

I am big on getting the kids outside as much as possible. I like for them to be active, to run around, and just be a kid! My son is old enough to get into sports, so I really want to experiment and see what he truly enjoys so we can sign him up for a team. We’re thinking baseball, so I’m really excited. His cousin is amazing at playing ball, so I’m hoping to get them together a lot during the summer to really get my son into learning to rules of the game.

As for my one year old, I just want her to learn to love the outdoors. We’re a very ‘outdoorsy’ family, so I really don’t want my little ones to be stuck on electronics and television, especially when it’s so beautiful outside. My in-laws are getting the kids a play set for our backyard so I’m excited. That will go great with the sandbox and fire pit we currently have out there.

So why not kick off the beginning of spring with a list of 100 ways to get your kids outside!

Some may cost a little, but others are completely free!

There are options for every budget!

 

Draw with sidewalk chalk

Go for a bike ride/learn to ride a bike

Visit a playground

Have a picnic

Go for a walk

Catch fireflies at night

Plant a garden

Visit a lake

Go fishing

Practice/Play a sport

Go swimming in a pool

Hike in the woods

Visit a zoo

Visit an ice cream shop

Go to a carnival

Visit an amusement park

Play tag

Play hide and go seek

Have a bonfire

Roast marshmallows

Pitch a tent and ‘camp’ in your backyard

Have a water balloon fight

Set up a sprinkler or slip and slide

Visit a national or state park

Identify different birds

Have an outdoors scavenger hunt (see below for a free printable!)

Paint rocks

Play hopscotch

Catch butterflies

Build and paint a birdhouse

Pick different flowers

Go feed ducks

Finger paint

Find shapes in the clouds

Look for stars at night in a telescope

Wash a car

Play I-Spy

Climb a tree

Fly a kite

Make paper airplanes

Play with bubbles

Go puddle jumping

Have a squirt gun fight

Make a time capsule and bury it

Play in the mud

Visit a farm

Have a lemonade stand

Visit a beach

Go to a local baseball game

Make dandelion wishes

Visit a water park

Go frog catching

Collect seashells

Go paddle boating

Go to an outdoor concert

Play in a sandbox

Go on a boat ride

Go swimming in a lake

Paint pine cones

Make a bird feeder

Identify tree types

Make a nature journal

Collect different types of leaves

Collect different types of rocks

Grill and eat dinner outside

Go mini golfing

Skip rocks

Pick berries

Smell different flowers

visit a farmer’s market

Make a wind chime

Visit a drive-in movie theater

Roll down a hill

Dance outside

Visit an aquarium

Go crabbing

Look for bugs

Plant a tree

Take outside photos

Build an outside fort

Go horseback riding

Hula hoop

Watch the sun set/rise

Jump rope

Go go-karting

Make paper boats

Build sandcastles

Have a race

Build an obstacle course

Jump on a trampoline

Make a tire swing

Do a science experiment

Tour a fire station

Visit a children’s museum

Find a four-leaf clover

Tie die shirts

Make shadow puppets

Walk to a snowball stand

Make your own snowballs

Make your own ice cream

Scavenger Hunt

Right Click to Save and Print!

 

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