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Hi! My name is Chris, and I'm writing this blog to share my passion...nature!
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Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Making a Discovery Backpack

Whether it's for camping, hiking, a day at the park, or some fun in the of my sons favorite things to do is gather up his nature discovery backpack and head outside. This is such a great way to get kids up-close with nature, and allow them (in safe ways) to come up with how they want to explore it.

The contents of his discovery backpack vary depending on where we're going or what he's in the mood to do that day. But basically it contains some of the components below.
  • Child-sized backpack (preferably with a small outside pouch to hold a water bottle).
  • Pocket Magnifier
  • Binoculars
  • Compass
  • Flashlight
  • Clear plastic zipper bags for collecting things
  • Plastic container (like a small margarine tub) for holding bugs and other small creatures. Please remember to always release them back into nature!
  • Camera (My son uses our old digital camera, which he loves!)
  • Shovel (We use a small plastic one from the sandbox toys.)
  • A journal & write about, or draw pictures of, their discoveries (you can usually get small spiral bound notepads at the dollar store). Sometimes we'll print out pictures of any new creatures we've seen that day so our son can glue them into his journal and then he'll write a sentence or two about where we found it.
  • Plastic (grocery store size) bag. We always collect litter everywhere we hike. It teaches our son that litter doesn't just “go away” and he gets to contribute to helping clean up the earth.
  • Hand-held kitchen strainer for catching tadpoles and pond insects. Can work as a sifter in a sandbox or at the beach too.
  • A pocket field guide for birds, trees, insects, or anything else that interests your family.
  • Water and snacks
We keep his backpack ready to go...packed and in the coat closet, so that he can access it any time. Make sure you add any other gadgets your children use when they play outside. Drop me a note if you find that your kids love packing something specific that I haven't included here. And happy exploring!

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  1. I wrote a post not too long ago about my "adventuring bag," but it's not something my 5 year old has ever offered to carry. Maybe I need to give him some encouragement?! :)

    Love the idea of the plastic bag -- we too pick up a lot of trash. We also always have a plastic bucket on hand.

  2. I'll have to check out your post! Thanks for letting me know.
    There's usually a limit to how long he'll carry the bag. :) But overall, he loves to have his own "things" on a trip or hike. We also keep it light and it's in a child-sized backpack.

  3. Following from MBC. You can find me blogging at:

  4. Cool! I love getting the kids to play outdoors as much as possible. This would be great for bringing to our Nature Center.
    Check out my blog sometime too!

  5. Ugh! I just wrote a whole big comment and poof it vanished! Anyhow, let's see if I can remember... This discovery backpack is a great idea! Better than rummaging through my purse for all of the junk (I mean tools) my kids like to take along when we explore outside.

    FYI: I linked to you in a post I have scheduled for tomorrow. I also noticed that you don't yet have a followers box up on your sidebar. It's completely optional (and free, of course) but it's a good way to track who's reading what you write. Easy to add too. If you ever have any blog related questions let me know!

  6. Hi Chris! Welcome to the Friends Following Friends Club!

  7. I saw you were new to MBC and wanted to welcome you!
    Love your blog, AND it's simplicity - I'm a huge minimilist fan, and your blog looks wonderful!
    Your post is also a great idea for some weekend family fun - I like it :D
    Pleased to meet you!

  8. Stopping by from MBC-FF
    Great ideas!! We love nature too. It's fun to discover the outdoors. We love walking at our local nature center.

  9. Hi there! Stopping by from MBC FFF! Happy Wednesday!!

  10. Following you from MBC. =)

    This would be interesting to read!! I would love to incorporate new ideas to our style of living as my little one gets older and can finally enjoy the outdoors. =)

  11. This is great! My son would think it was pretty cool to have a backpack full of exploratory stuff like that.

    ~*~Following through MBC~*~

  12. What a fabulous idea for a blog!!! I am happy to be following you now!

  13. Stopping by from MBC. I love your blog! Children today don't get to experience the outdoors enough. My family loves outdoor experiences--there are so many exciting things in nature. Stop by my blog wehn you get a chance!

  14. Found you on MBC! You're up to 12!

  15. Love your idea's, I am involved in with our Boy Scouts and also am a asst Crew Advisor for our Venturing Crew. The kids learn so much while doing simple outdoor activities. Looking forward to your future posts.
    Sending some love form MBC.

  16. What a great idea!

    Just stopping by from MBC and now following you :)

    Have a nice weekend,

  17. Great post, love the colors of your blog too.

    Following from MBC ~Mandie

  18. Lots of great ideas!! Following you from MBC FFF. Visit me at Thanks!

  19. This is a great idea!

    I came over from MBC! I am now following you.

  20. You are a genius. I am always going down to the creek with my kids and trying to figure out how to lug all this stuff in the back pocket of my stroller. Hello Discovery Backpack!!! Thank you.

  21. Thank you all so much for the comments and encouragement!