A Nature Hunt, Stick Boats, and a Creek

June 20, 2012

Just down the street from us is an open space that follows the path of the creek. There is one small space where they let you go down and sit by the water, and it is a favorite of the boys and their friends.It is this magical place where I swear the sun always shines golden, the trees seem to always rustle in a soft breeze, and the water is warm and perfect.

Recently my friend Annika and I took our four boys down and let them tie their rafts to the trees for some warm weather relaxation. Watermelon, bubbles, stick boat making (and racing), and a fun nature treasure hunt ensued.

I am hoping that we find most of our days like this: sticky, warm, exhausted, but refreshed at the time spent in the sunshine. Wishing you all a wonderful start to your summer!

Nature Treasure Hunt

Create a nature hunt list to hand out to each child.

Find:

:: Something round

:: Something alive

:: A place where an animal would live

:: Animal tracks (and guess which creature they belong to)

:: Something that is a spiral shape

:: Three different types of leaves

:: Something scary

:: An animal’s habitat

:: Something old

The nature hunt can be done two ways: Either by collecting the items as you go, or taking photos of each of the items using a Polaroid or camera phone. You can find lots more fun ideas for Nature Treasure Hunts on this Pinterest board, and check back here in a few days for a pattern for our exploration bag.

Watermelon, Mint and Lemon Sorbet

* This recipe requires an ice cream or sorbet maker.

8 cups of cubed watermelon (seeds and rind removed)

2 tbsp of fresh lemon juice

The zest of one lemon

2 tbsp fresh mint, chopped

1/4-1/2 cup agave nectar

Place your watermelon and mint into the bowl of a food processor, and puree. Add the lemon juice, and simple syrup and stir well. Place into the bowl of an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s directions.

* The day of the party, place the bowl of frozen sorbet into a cooler packed with ice to transport and store. Serve in a glass bowl with a spring of mint on top.

Making Stick Boats

Gather your sticks together. If using gathered materials, the boat will have a fun and rustic feel to it. If using precut twigs, the boats will have a clean line and perfect proportions.

:: Using your glue gun,  glue the smaller sticks across the larger pontoon sticks to form a deck

:: Find a fun stick to use as the mast, and glue the fabric sail to it. On the very top of the mast, place one small bead of glue and attach as many pieces of embroidery thread as you would like.

:: To adhere the mast to the deck, simply place a bead of glue on the bottom of the mast, and attach on either the right or left center of the deck.

:: Your boat is now ready to race!

We hope that this first day of summer is all that you wish it to be.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah June 20, 2012 at 8:05 am

Thank you! I wanted something special to do today, so I came over for some inspiration. The kids and I are heading to the market, then we’re looking forward to making rafts, setting sail with them at the beach, and making that yummy sorbet! I hope you have a wonderful day!

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Heather June 21, 2012 at 9:10 am

Thank you so much Sarah, I hope that you day was wonderful as well. The beach and the boats sounds like a pretty special way to mark the beginning of summer.

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Lacey June 20, 2012 at 1:14 pm

so sweet. The girls will love the scavenger hunt. They gather fireflies every evening before bed–it’s such a magical connection kids have to nature.

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Heather June 21, 2012 at 9:09 am

I miss fireflies, they are such a magical part of summer.

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Pink Ronnie June 20, 2012 at 7:31 pm

Gorgeous photos and such a wonderful idea! I shall definitely try to remember this one.
Ronnie xo

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Heather June 21, 2012 at 9:09 am

Thank you so much, they were all a fun and relaxing way to spend the day.

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Julia Watkins June 20, 2012 at 9:48 pm

You always have the best recipes. If you post it, I try it – that simple. Can’t wait to try your watermelon sorbet next! Happy summer!

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Heather June 21, 2012 at 9:05 am

Okay, you just made my day with that comment. Thank you Julia, that is incredibly sweet. I hope that you enjoy the sorbet, and that you have a great start to your summer.

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Meryl June 21, 2012 at 8:57 am

I can’t wait until K is old enough to “get” little boats. (Then again, maybe I should just make some for myself?)

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Heather June 21, 2012 at 9:04 am

I had a ball joining the boys in making them :). They are not as fancy as some others out there, but they do work for a good boat race for the younger set.
I am coming to the Kansas City area in the fall to shoot photos for the ROTH book, and I would love to get together for lunch. I will let you know the dates when the time gets closer.

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Chelsea June 21, 2012 at 11:18 am

I love the nature hunt idea. We are a bit starved for nature here in the city, so it might be a bigger undertaking, but we do manage one way or another to find our bits of green… +Chelsea

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renee @ FIMBY June 25, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Heather, you saved the day. Or at least the afternoon. I have some bored kids, I’m busy taking care of family finances/moving bureaucracy, there are no craft supplies in the house, it’s too cold to swim in the pool. What to do? Send the kids on a neighborhood treasure hunt! Some nature/some urban inspiration from the environment we find ourselves in right now.
Thanks for the great idea!

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