Your own Hundred Acre Wood
Play Falling Leaves like Tigger and Roo to keep your little people interested in nature this fall. Photo: Andrew Mowry.
Worried about keeping the kids interested in the outdoors this fall? Try inspiring them with activities from children's books. Several years ago I was inspired to put together a family nature walk based on the many adventures of Winnie the Pooh. I had stumbled upon a book written by Christopher Milne himself, son of A.A. Milne and inspiration for the Pooh tales. He talked about the 'real' hundred acre woods that he played in as a boy and his favorite toy, Pooh. About the same time the new and first authorized sequel to A.A. Milne's classic tales of Winnie the Pooh had just been released. Return to the Hundred Acre Woods is full of new adventures and characters as well as the classic characters inventing new games and finding new mischief.
I began thumbing through all the Pooh stories and picking out a few of the many activities they enjoyed. One such activity is Pooh Sticks, a game that Pooh invented. The Metolius Preserve is a great place for this because there is a bridge over Lake Creek. Drop a stick from the bridge into the water on the upstream side and go downstream to see if it appears. You could even tie in some education by using different types of sticks and timing them. When they tire of that you could move onto something a little more active. Baby Roo would practice his jumps in a sandy part of the forest and every Tuesday would teach Pooh how to jump. Have the kids find a good place to practice their jumps.
Another fun one is to Find a Very Deep Pit and look for a Heffalump. This will take a little preparation on your part but it is fun for young children. Look for an area that is a bit of a depression or a real pit and have the kids build a Heffalump trap by finding and placing sticks over the pit. Tell them you will check back later to see if you caught one. Either have another adult or yourself hide a stuffed animal or something in the pit after they build the trap. It is fun when they discover something in there!
Lastly, an activity invented by Tigger and Roo from the new book is called Falling Leaves. You throw a handful of leaves in the air and have to get out of the way before they hit the ground. If one lands on you, you do a forfeit (something silly like stand on your head or sing twinkle, twinkle little star).
There are many more and you could even incorporate some of the fun songs that Pooh and the gang sing. It is a fun way to tie in reading and nature play and get the kids outside. It could even get the kids inspired to read more. Enjoy!
Karen Parker leads nature hikes for kids as a volunteer naturalist for the Deschutes Land Trust. Learn more about Karen and our other volunteer hike leaders.