I feel like I have been in hibernation for a long time now. I suppose to some extent most Minnesotans get like this because of the long winters, even as I type we still have some snow in our yard! This year though has been even more so as we have mostly been housebound due to my health. We are used to museums, field trips and much more being outside than we have had this year. We have still gotten out a bit, enough for many people I would say but I have felt cooped up.
Yesterday the kids and I went to a nature center and our local arboretum and spent the day at those locations. It felt wonderful to be out exploring nature, wildlife and beautiful plants and flowers with my kids again. At the nature center we saw frogs, toads, snakes, lizards and explored various nests, shells, bones, furs and many other items from nature. We looked at stuffed owls, birds and small animals. It was fun to connect and talk about nature and the coming of spring. The kids put on puppet shows and colored pictures, we read some books they had and walked around and explored some. The temperature was in the low 30's and it was actually snowing while we were there so we spent more time indoors but at least it wasn't at our house. We had the entire place to ourselves with just the naturalists there. We watched her clean the turtle cage and talked about various reptiles and amphbian care with her. I think the naturalists enjoyed that we were there - it was good all around. One of the beautiful benefits of homeschooling, you often get educational facilities all to yourself!
On the way home Ciaran really wanted to visit the arboretum so we did. They have a wonderful Children's Learning Center with a hands on, touch and smell everything greenhouse. It felt so good to be in the warmth surrounded by color and green. We just walked around for a bit smelling and pointing out our favorite things to one another, discovering what the plants and flowers were named. Some volunteers were working on cuttings and the kids asked questions about how and why they were doing it. They made a cutting of an Artillery plant for the kids. We finished up our time there with the kids each sketching their favorite things. Ciaran sketched several cacti and some bamboo. Rhiannon made an involved sketch of the orange and lemon trees and Sirah walked around making sketches of all the pink flowers.
It felt good to be out exploring the world and nature with my kids. I think in some ways that has been one of the hardest limitations on the family this year. Looking forward to that all changing soon and of course to the good weather.