If you have a park near you, be sure to check it out. I’m not really talking about the little parks that are a playground and not much else – no, these are the big, spacious places with trees and water and hiking paths…
Next step, pick up a good guide to wildflowers and one for insects (rarely are the combo books good, as they hit the showy species and leave out the more obscure. Then, if you can, fishing poles. We’re using a cheap rod and reel set, since this isn’t about catching, it’s about learning to fish. Finally, if you have it, a camera. It doesn’t need to be a DSLR, I’ve had cheap (>$100) point and shoot digitals that did darn good macro. Or, since this is what it’s really about, pictures of the kids in action.
Don’t forget sunscreen. Hats, even, if your geeky kids will wear them. Books to lounge in the grass and read. A bug-catching set-up if you are going to be carefully observing and releasing. Obviously, this doesn’t all need to happen in one trip to the park!
Running around and playing with the dog is great – running around without the dog, if you haven’t got one – and then after, some quiet contemplative time relaxing.
And if your mother is planning to take both Field Botany and Invertebrate Zoology, and is honing up on her taxonomy skills, when you get home you can help her identify the new things you saw, or if you have the guides with you, start your life list while you’re at the park!