a family walk: we're going on a bear hunt

This weekend we were away visiting my sister, and seeing as she lives in the idyllic Kent countryside we thought where better to take our weekly walk than in the woods just outside her house.

All weekend the weather had been battering the windows of her cosy cottage, keeping us inside huddled around the fire in the evenings, but on Sunday morning we awoke to the most beautiful, clear and sunny day. We pulled on our boots and walked down the small country lane. But this was no ordinary walk, this was a bear hunt.

Probably one of Theo's favourite books, so we decided to make it into a real life adventure and set out to find our own bear. We recited the words as we walked along, squishing through the mud and tripping through the woods.

Once we climbed to the top of the hill we found a castle and raced to the top to claim our right as the King. We rode on horses and stormed the castle and then invited the defeated in for tea. We stood at the top and looked out over the horizon trying to spot aunties house.

We stepped in between the trees to search for pine cones for the fire, as well as finding beech nuts and talking about squirrels. We ran down the slope and rounded and bend only to find a little den made out of old logs and branches from the pine trees. The ground had been swept and boundaries had been laid and we went to investigate to see whether the bear was home.

We found that the bear wasn't at home so we continued our search looking for tracks in the mud. We met people on way and Theo told them of our adventure to find a bear, and each one replied back with snippets from the story. We hid and listened to the sounds, and made growling noises as we pretended to be the bears ourselves.

Then we got tired and trudged our way back through the country lanes towards home.

To me this is what our family walks are all about. It's not just about getting fresh air, or seeing a nice view (which are great reasons to get out in the nature) but about so much more. I want to show Theo that woods, hills, streams and beaches can be his playground. The starting point for many adventures and stories, with so much to discover and learn in each place. To be a child who can spend hours building a perfect den with just what they have to hand, or search for nuts, seeds, berries and mushrooms, catch crabs in rock pools and see what lives in ponds and streams. To know the names of the different trees, what squirrels eat, how frogs are born. Of course we could learn all this in books, which is great, but I want him to really learn it and experience it for himself and part of my job is to provide him with the chance to learn and love this for himself. Part of me is worried that because he's growing up in the city that he won't have the same love for being in nature that I grew up with, but I'm just hoping that he continues to carry same spark of wander that he already appears to hold.

I hoping to see a screening of "Project Wild Thing" this week, and am very excited. I remember seeing the trailer and knowing it was something I wholeheartedly agree and believe in and I can't wait to watch the full film.

What about you, what adventures have you been on recently?