Travelling in cars

It’s pretty easy to think that you don’t have time to help your kids experience nature because you’re always shuttling them about in cars.  Likely many of you have band practices, french lessons, a daily commute, and soccer games to attend, not to mention a drive to the family cottage in the evenings.  It’s pretty easy to put on a DVD and let that amuse your kids while you travel.  I know that I’ve done that relatively often.  We also play guess that roadkill, look at the clouds and spot the colour yellow and keep score (I saw a family doing that recently on the metrorail in Washington, DC – they were having too much fun).

The National Wildlife Federation has come up with a great way to get you going – Car Window Bingo – the cards have pictures on them so that kids of all ages can play.  The smaller kids can mark them with crayons, to avoid terrible messes and have a great time.  As always, a straight line wins (depending on the length of the trip, the prize may vary – I would suggest against candy for very long trips).

When you do stop (and I would suggest stopping often), take a few minutes to look for some species you haven’t seen before.  If you have guide books in your car, you can research what you saw when you get going again.  Ask your kids how what they found was different than what’s at home or if they’ve ever seen something like it at home.

I also always make sure that my kids make a point of picking up at least one piece of garbage and throwing it out to leave the rest area a bit better than we found it.

Stewardship doesn’t need to be hard.  We just have to know to start small and do something!

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