There’s a little trail we love at Camano Island State Park, a green and uncrowded park I like to visit with my kids. It’s always been quiet when we’re there, and like its neighbor Cama Beach State Park, there are beautiful views, coastline to explore, fresh island air, and great trails.
My favorite family trail at Camano Island State Park is the Al Emerson Nature Trail. We’ve been walking this easy interpretive trail for a while now. The trail is a half-mile loop that’s perfect for little feet, with varied views, mostly flat terrain, and a few places to stop and have our snacks along the way. What makes this trail really unique for us is how we’ve come to use it – for practicing numbers and math skills outdoors.
On a visit to Camano Island State Park when my twins were preschoolers, we pulled over after a picnic at the beach to check out the Al Emerson Nature Trail. The idea of a loop appealed to me – mine, like many kids, dislike the whole “turn around and go back” business. We got started on the easy walk, and after a ways my kids discovered one of these – wonderful, numbered posts, with photos of trail fauna stuck to them.
Oh, how exciting. “Where’s post #2?” They were off, counting up numbers, making up clues, chatting with each other about what they were seeing and barreling forward toward the next number.
There’s no way you won’t find the next number, btw. You just follow the loop. I’ve never had a single foot dragger on this little walk. We know when it will end (at #18) and we know what to expect. With that familiarity, we can now do things like –
“Let’s go back two and take a picture.”
“What number does that say?”
“Which number is next?”
“How high do you think these trees grow?”
And on and on.
My twins are in kindergarten now, and being an active participant in my children’s early learning is important to me. When I find something easy, where we can go outside in almost any weather, and get some time in nature and still practice math skills, it makes me feel like I’m doing something right for them. And that’s about the best feeling you can have as a mom, anywhere.
About twin-mom.com and Linda Jenkins:
twin-mom.com is a blog about family life and travels in the Pacific Northwest, with some wish list finds just for moms, too. Follow Linda and her busy family as they enjoy close-to-home and accessible family fun.
Former attorney Linda Jenkins is a Pacific Northwest travel, food & wine, and lifestyle writer. Her work has appeared in magazines and newspapers including 425 Magazine, South Sound Magazine, NWLawyer, The Everett Herald, The Seattle Times, and The Tacoma News Tribune. Read more…
Written work and photographs on twin-mom.com are copyrighted material. All rights reserved.
Follow twin-mom.com on: