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  • The backyard cartographer adventure

    Your little explorer will have a great time creating a backyard or neighbourhood map. Use any size/type of paper and pencil and start by drawing an outline or perimeter for the land. You can mark out where you find trees, plants, animals and more.

    Older kids might enjoy doing this with the help of a compass to add N,W,S and E to the map. Those who like to be creative can finish the map by colouring in the trees and other points of interest.

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  • Cricket symphony

    If you're at a river or lake there are sure to be crickets. Let the crickets sing you an evening song. Try imitating the noise they make.

    Have some insect spray nearby in case any make a fuss.

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  • Where do animals live?

    Look for nests in the trees or in the ground. You'll be amazed at what you can find - birds' nests and more.

    Bring some binoculars when you go looking for birds' nests. You'll be able to see them a lot better. If you spot an animal's home, when you are back at your house, see if you can find out how that animal made their home.

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  • Ant watchers

    There are ants everywhere! Try following them to their home and see what they're up to. Where do they live? How many can you count in one place?

    Drop some a crumb of food nearby and watch them come pick it up and take it away! Warn your children against red ants? definitely not as fun as the black ones!

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  • The smallest tree

    Find the smallest tree you can. How old do you think it is? Are there other trees like it near by? Talk about the different ways you can tell how old a tree is.

    It would be fun to look at tree rings on the same walk so keep a look out for any tree trunks that you can point them out at. Feel and compare the bark and leaves on a young tree to an older one of the same family.

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  • Climb a tree

    With a tree you can explore up! Climb and see what you can see.

    Go slow and stick to low big branches.

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  • Star watchers

    On a clear night, you and your kids will have fun watch the night sky. Take a book our from the library and learn the stars and constellations. Greet the moon in all of its phases.

    Take turns having the kids learn a constellation and telling the rest of the family about it. Mark the calendar when you should be able to see the Southern Cross so you can look forward to it as a family.

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  • Who am I? What am I? 20 Questions!

    Take turns thinking of people, places or even objects and then having the group ask yes or no questions to figure out who or what you are. This is the perfect activity for a hike or even just sitting outside.

    Think of more common/obvious people and places when first playing and with the young'uns.

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  • Family ride

    Feeling the wind through your hair is as easy as getting on a bike. Take your whole family. It doesn't have to be far, just right around your neighbourhood or around your local park.

    Make sure your bikes are in good shape. Don't have bikes for everyone? There are a lot of rental and bike share programs. Check online for one near you. Plan a route that stops at an ice cream parlor for an extra treat. Let your kids decide where you should bike! As long as you stay near, your spontaneous trip can be a quest.

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  • Be flashlight explorers

    Try a night time adventure. Go for a night walk in the backyard with torches and see what you can spot. What comes out at night that doesn't come out during the day? It's a whole different world out there once the sun goes down.

    You can take a walk around the yard during the day and note what you pass and then do the same walk at night, comparing what's different. If the moon is bright, leave behind the torches and enjoy the magic of moonlight.

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  • Make a bird bath

    Birds love to freshen up after flying all day and they're great to watch. Use some empty plant pots or even a frisbee as the bath. Take the container out to your yard and let the birds come to you! The best bird baths will have running water. You can turn an old soda bottle into a drip bottle as another do-it-yourself project.

    Once birds start coming, watch with your kids and try to identify them. If you have stagnant water, empty it out and refill it every now and then to keep the mosquitoes away and the birds healthy.

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  • Go canoeing or kayaking

    Search online or ask your friends to find the closest place to go canoeing or kayaking. Your kids will really love this family adventure.

    Wear bathers so you can jump in before and after your boating. Don't forget the sunscreen and bottled water.

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