1) A durable backpack with lots of pockets, a place to store a water bottle. I love our QQuickSilverbag with the built in cooler. It has tons of pockets, it’s durable and it’s comfortable. Ours is similar to this one.
2) A first aid kit and baby wipes. If you have kids you know why you must have a first aid kit. Many a times we have needed to do some triage on a nature walk.
3) Various field guides. I do carry a few books and guides with us but I must confess my phone ALWAYS goes with us on our nature walks for a few reasons…pictures, field guides and GPS. My favorite field guide Apps are from Audubon.
4) Nature journal books or nature journal pages are a must have. Along with your favorite writing utensils (colored pencils, crayons, markers, etc). We also carry a glue stick too for affixing special items in our journals.
5) A pair of binoculars.
6) Maps of the area where you are hiking. If you are at a nature center or State/National park then make sure you grab a map when you arrive. I actually have laminated maps for the places we frequent often and keep them in the bag so we don’t need to worry about grabbing maps each time (plus it helps save paper). Oh that reminds me, you make sure you always have a compass, just in case!
7) Bug catchers, plastic ziplock bags, small containers, etc. These items are great to have in your bag so your young explorers can find specimens to examine up close or takes special treasures home.
8) Whistles for everyone going. Yes we always wear our whistles and both children know they are not toys. The whistles are to be used only if you are lost or need to get someone’s attention quickly.
9) Various tools like a small tape measure, box cutter, fish net and a multi-tool. These items are great for exploring various things you may come across while out on your walk.
10) A camera. My camera is not always in my bag ready to go, but we do have an old cell phone that takes pictures still that the kids keep handy in the bag.
Most of these items you may already have laying around the house. I spent only a few dollars (mostly at Dollar Tree) to create our backpack.
Have fun exploring nature!
Written by Kathy Balman
Kathy quit her full time job in July 2011 to become a stay at home/homeschool mom to her two children. Besides being a full time mother she is also a devoted wife, blogger and a social media manager. She lives in Georgia just north of the hustling and bustling city of Atlanta. When she is not tending to children she enjoys blogging, scrapbooking, hiking, geocaching, arts/crafts, traveling and watching movies. Read more about her homeschool journey on her blog, http://www.kathysclutteredmind.com