A Natural Harvest

A Natural Harvest

You don’t have to launch a wilderness trek to get kids into nature. Even a walk in a local park gives them (and you) that nature “fix” we all need. Let them gather leaves and search under logs. Let them get dirty.

It can be as simple as picking berries, which we did in August at the edge of a neighborhood park just three blocks from our house.

Kids love this kind of outdoor adventure. There’s something primal about the hunting and the gathering, which of course our oldest ancestors would have done to survive. We all connect with it. It’s satisfying to find the best berries and watch them accumulate in the container. So picking berries not only links kids to an ancient survival ritual, it gets them into nature by default. While we were picking, we were able to observe flickers, towhees, sparrows and a squirrel. We talked about how these creatures also relied on the berries for food.

All you need is a few containers for picking and a larger container for emptying full containers, and make sure everyone is wearing long sleeves and pants. A stepladder helps reach the higher berries, the ones that always seem the biggest, juiciest and most abundant. You might even bring along some hedge clippers to access spots that others have left untouched. A pair of heavy gloves helps pull branches out of the way, too.

Later on the kids helped prepare a batch of berry cobbler. This connected them to the process of gathering and eating–and enjoying. With ice cream slathered onto the cobbler while it was still warm, we had the perfect end to the day’s grand adventure.