Hiking at a Museum?!
On July 25th, the Southwest Virginia Museum Historical State Park hosted its last installment in the Summer Children’s Program Series entitled, “Hiking”.
For this program, the children made walking sticks out of bamboo and I took the children on two hikes.
For the first hike, I took them around the grounds of the Museum. I showed them various plants and artifacts along our hike. The children were attentive and found many surprises along the way. I showed them various mushrooms that had recently appeared due to the heavy rains. With each stop along the hike, I told them importance or history of the artifact or plant.
When we returned inside the Museum for our lunch break, the children were complaining that they did not want to venture back outside because it was hot. They begged to take a hike inside the Museum where there was air-conditioning. They exclaimed their desires to stay inside the Museum or be inside a car that had air-conditioning. The children were vocalizing elaborate excuses to avoid going back outside. One five year old even said, “I am going to eat my lunch really slow so we don’t have to go back outside.”
Despite opposition, Park Interpreter: Retha Cole and I took the kids back outside after they were thoroughly hydrated.
I lead the children on a hike to the Greenbelt in Big Stone Gap, Virginia located along the Powell River. The children really enjoyed the surprises they found on the hike. They termed the squirrels, “fat squirrels”, and squealed at the appearance of each squirrel.
I showed the children the rings on a tree (and told them their meaning), how the sun hits plants differently, and taught them to listen to nature.
The program was an overall success and I was able to instill a love for being outside in the children. I returned from the Outdoor Nation Summit in Boston, Massachusetts a day before this hiking program. The summit was about getting the millenial generation outdoors; therefore, it was significantly rewarding to expose millenial generation children to the everyday wonders of the natural world.
Check out the video below from the hike! :