The flowers appear on the earth;
the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove
is heard in our land.
~Song of Solomon 2:12
We have a bike trail near our house, and last week we took our first walk on the trail. My kids noticed all the wild flowers growing in the ditch. They had a lot of questions about what the flowers were called, but I had no clue. I don’t like not having an answer*. But I wished that I knew the names. So it got me thinking, and a light bulb turned on in my head (it happens sometimes).
A week later we took the walk again, but this time I brought with a camera. I let the kids take pictures of the flowers (taking pictures was their favorite). I did help with the picture taking (there was some poison ivy**). My two-year-old took a lot of pictures of his fingers (he doesn’t understand how to hold a camera), but that was entertaining for us too. He also turned on the flash, which I didn’t notice for quite awhile. (Just so you know, having the flash on in bright sunny weather when you are outdoors and taking close up pictures results in very washed out pictures.) After our walk, we headed for the library and found a state flower field guide. At home, I quickly piled the pictures into a word document, and made a little book for the kids. I printed the book in black and white (because I have a laser printer), but that just means coloring for the kids- so it even added to the fun! Now they are going through the field guide, and identifying the flowers. So the next time we go on our walk- ta da!- we will have our book with and can name the flowers we see!
I am by no means a perfectionist. Our field guides are probably not accurate (Ok, they are guaranteed to not be 100% accurate). Nor will their coloring make the identification process easier on our next walk. (I will have to bring the real field guide with, I guess.) But it was fun, and we learned something. Did you know there is a flower called Butter-and-Eggs? Also Goat’s Beard? Who named these!? (Probably a brilliant mother who wanted her kids to be able to remember their names!) And the kids realized how taking pictures really far off of flowers makes them hard to identify later. When it was all done, it was a pretty great day. Here are a few more pictures to highlight our adventure (or possibly I should say misadventures? But since no one got poison ivy, we will call it a successful day?):
Thank you, Lord, for your beautiful creation! Thank you for this day! Thank you for our children! In Jesus name, Amen!
*My kids are really good at asking questions that don’t have easy answers. Deep and profound questions like, “Why do shoes have to go on the right feet, but socks don’t?” On the bright side, I’m really good at making a reasonable response that doesn’t actually answer the question. My grandpa once told me I would make a good politician. (I think he was jesting)
**If you are going to do this activity, make sure you know about poison ivy, wild parsnip, etc. You don’t want your flower activity to end in disaster! Wearing shoes and long pants (instead of shorts and sandals is a good idea too- just in case!)
***And just a note that the first (very blurry) picture is one my son took of moss. He really thinks that picture is neat… and I kinda do too.