Knee-High Naturalists

June 13, 2012

Exploring Nature with ToddlersI try to expose my son to a variety of interests, even if I don’t particularily like it. Like bugs. You see, it is my belief (as sexist as it may be) that all men should protect the women in their lives from bugs and rodents. It is their duty. So, in raising a little man, I think it is important to expose him to those things so there will be no fear. As long as I am raising a boy, chivilery will not die!

When I saw the opportunity to sign up for a toddler workshop called “Knee-High Naturalists” I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to expose my son to something I naturally wouldn’t want to do myself. The program advertised walking along the water and discovering all sorts of nature; birds, rocks, plants, and yes, bugs.

The morning of our adventure, as I was getting ready, I attempted to create excitement. In my peppiest voice (which, I must admit isn’t all that peppy and sounds rather unnatural on me) I said, “We’re going to do something really fun today! We are going to go walk along the water and find birds and plants and bugs!”

Then I remembered that my son doesn’t like bugs the way most boys do (surprise, surprise). When he sees them outside he normally says “Go home bug!” and proceeds to tell me he doesn’t “really like that bug.” So, I quickly tried rewording our morning outing and said, “Doesn’t that sound fun?! Do you want to see some birds!?”

To my surprise he responded, “And bugs!” with excitement.

“Yeah! And bugs! How fun!” I said, trying to keep the excitement going. He reached his hand out toward me and said, “I’m going to touch them!”

That surprised me. “You are?” I asked.

Then he took his hands and pretended to hold a baseball bat. He started to swing it. “And hit them with my bat!” he proudly exclaimed.

And there we have it. He wants to torture the bugs, not explore them. I think it’s a step in the right direction. At least he’s not running away from them.

Cedar River Education Center- North Bend, WA

If you live in the Seattle area, the Cedar River Education Center at Rattlesnake Lake in North Bend offers the Knee-High Naturalists program once a month, throughout the summer. We ended up having a blast. We learned about weather as our guide helped point out different aspects of it on our nature walk. The program is designed for children three and under and is only $5 per adult. The Education Center has a whole slew of things to explore. It is a mini, hands-on science center. That, by itself, is worth the trip.

I’m so glad I found this, because we will be returning. Next month’s topic? Bugs. Time to put my big-girl pants on.

To register for the program you may email or call 206-733-9421.  Rattlesnakek Lake is located off of I90, exit 32. 

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4 Responses to “Knee-High Naturalists”

  1. AJ Says:

    I think this is a common challenge among mothers raising boys…you are the second friend of mine who has noticed their boys pick up on bugs being icky, etc. becuse of the way the boys see you react. I think you are right, you just have to put on your big girl pants and teach them to not be scared of them. If I’m alone or with other females in the office (yes, we do get bugs in the workplace…nasty!)and there is a bug, I’ll totally take care of the situation without a second thought but if I’m home with my husband I’ll depend on him to take care of it…funny how that works! I guess even independent women like to be taken care of ;) I love that he is learning about chivalry!

    • EmilyM Says:

      Amanda, I distinctly remember walking though the field in between your house and Erin’s. I saw a mouse and completely freaked out. You didn’t even flinch. If my son turns out half a brave as you around bugs and rodents, I will be happy. :)

      And, I think everyone one likes to be taken care of, men and women alike. It’s a nice feeling knowing someone is watching out for you.

  2. LOL! Hope it’s fun! At least it sounds like he wants to kill bugs and defend you. That will be a handy trait for him to have. :-)

    • EmilyM Says:

      I can only hope he’ll take care of all the bugs, maybe just not with a bat. I can just see it now, everything in the house is broken and the darn bug would be there, laughing in our faces.

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