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Wet and Wonderful – a Mud Puddle-and-Pie Activity Guide The season of wet-and-muddy is upon us, and with it, an opportunity to embrace all manners
Download the Pathway Mobile App!
We are so excited you’re here and ready to download the Pathway web-based app.
The Pathway app was designed to help you log Landmarks with ease.
Below you will find instructions on how to install the APP on both Android and Apple IOS devices as well as the step-by-step instructions to log a Landmark.
PATHWAY ANDROID APP (DOWNLOAD IN CHROME)
This Android web-based app is downloadable through Chrome. On your mobile device, launch your Chrome browser to begin.
PATHWAY APPLE iOS APP (DOWNLOAD IN SAFARI)
This iOS web-based app is only downloadable through Safari. On your mobile device, launch your Safari browser to begin.
How to Log Your Landmark
- Click on the Pathway APP Icon
- Login to your account
3. Choose your Grade (Early Years, Middle Years, Intermediate, Senior Years)
4. Choose your Landmark
5. Enter Your Landmark Details (Date, Who Completed the Landmark, Age of Participants, and Activity Description)
6. Take or Upload a Photo
7. Choose if you would like your image published and Submit!
Win Monthly Prizes
There are 30 Landmarks to report and each entry automatically enters participants into the monthly prize draw for a $50 gift certificate to a local business.
Citizen Science Workshop
This comprehensive set of resources provides excellent support for teachers exploring water quality and aquatic ecosystems with intermediate-level classes. The workshop also introduces Pathway Landmark 22: ‘Become a Citizen Scientist by helping to monitor environmental health,’ which is geared to Grade 7-8 classes. The workshop is a partnership between Otonabee Conservation and the Pathway Project.
Ontario Curriculum Links:
Grade 7: Understanding Life Systems – Interactions in the Environment
Overall Expectations: 1. Assess the impacts of human activities and technologies on the environment, and evaluate ways of controlling these impacts; 2. Investigate interactions within the environment, and identify factors that affect the balance between different components of an ecosystem; 3. Demonstrate an understanding of interactions between and among biotic and abiotic elements in the environment
Grade 8: Understanding Earth and Space Systems – Water Systems
Overall Expectations: 1. Assess the impact of human activities and technologies on the sustainability of water resources; 2. Investigate factors that affect local water quality; 3. Demonstrate an understanding of the earth’s water systems and the influence of water systems on a specific region
1. Introductory Video: This 20-minute video, produced by Otonabee Conservation, introduces the Otonabee region watershed and provides an overview of chemical and biological methods used locally to monitor watershed health. This can be used as a stand-alone activity or an introduction to hands-on monitoring opportunities for students.
2. Worksheets: Depending on the equipment you have available and your access to nearby waterways, the following worksheets have been prepared by Otonabee Conservation to guide students through a variety of activities to learn about their watershed and monitor its health:
- Mapping Activity Worksheet
- Water Quality Worksheet
- Biological Indicators Worksheet
- Surface Water Velocity Worksheet
- pH Worksheet
French Language Worksheets
3. Lesson Plans: These comprehensive lesson plans were developed by teacher and Outdoor Educator Sherri Owen to guide you through aquatic field labs with your class.
FIELD LAB 1: WATER CHEMISTRY
This guide outlines safety considerations as well as protocols for water collection and testing. It includes tracking and assessment sheets and identifies where you can find testing tools and supplies.
Finally, we show you how to submit your data to Water Rangers, a Canadian organization accepting water quality data from citizen scientists like you.
FIELD LAB 2: BIOLOGICAL INDICATORS
This guide provides everything you need to catch and identify benthic bugs, calculate water quality ratings, and create a water quality statement.
You’ll also get two worksheet protocols for evaluating water quality using aquatic macroinvertebrates.
This field lab explains how to submit your data to the Leaf Pack Network Database.
Seasonal Scavenger Hunt
“March is a time when winter’s grip finally begins to loosen. Large numbers of migrating birds return, bird song greets us as we step outside in the morning, the buds of several tree species begin to open, and the longer days and warmer sun rekindle our spirits.”
Drew Monkman’s Monthly Almanac
Keep a lookout for northward-bound ducks on open stretches of lakes and rivers; loud red squirrels trying to find a mate; owls, such as the barred owl, calling “Who cooks for you, who cooks for you”; the bird songs of the house finch and cardinal; the reappearance of raccoons, pussy willows, chipmunks, robins, grackles, and red-winged blackbirds; the sap of the maple trees starting to flow. On a warm day in late March, you may get a glimpse of a mourning cloak butterfly taking its first flight since last fall. These purple-black and yellow butterflies will often feed on sap dripping from maple trees in spring. The mourning cloak butterfly overwinters in the adult stage of the life cycle. If the weather becomes particularly warm, you may see the odd honey bee on a crocus or snowdrop in your garden. Honeybees are one of the few insects that remain active all winter. Coyotes give birth to three to seven pups in late March or April.
There is a tug of war going on in March and April as spring tries to defeat winter. Most of us are rooting for spring as we enjoy longer days and mud puddles. Try this scavenger hunt as you look for evidence of the emergence of spring. Download the PDF here.
The Pathway Project is pleased to partner with the Peterborough Child and Families Centres’ Toy Lending Library to provide Pathway’s ‘Wonder Wagons’, mobile educational learning kits.
Wonder Wagons are a perfect resource for any parent or educator who needs help engaging children with nature-based learning tools.
These activity-based mobile kits are linked to themes from ‘Animals in Winter’ to ‘Birds’ to ‘Trees’. Other supplies available include clip-boards, sit-upons and a picnic blanket.
To book a bin, call the toy lending library to set up a pick-up time: 705-748-9144 ex. 310
Visit www.ptbocfc.ca for more information.
Tuesdays: 9:30 am to noon, In-person by appt
Wednesdays: 9:30 am to noon In-person by appt
Thursdays: 1:00 pm to 5:30 pm In-person by appt
Saturdays: 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month, 9:30 am to noon In-person by appt
- Note: Book a wagon to transport your bin(s)
Large Bin – Primary Art
- Leaf Man (book)
- Art paper
- 5 large Paintbrushes
- 20 small Paintbrushes
- 5 large watercolour blocks
- 10 glue sticks (and instructions for butterfly or artist palette nature art)
- 7 small rulers
- Modeling clay (and instructions for clay nature art: impressions, fall bouquets)
- 2 rolls masking tape (and instructions for Nature Bracelets)
- Note: Book a wagon to transport your bin(s).
Large Bin – Junior Art
- Andy Goldsworthy A Collaboration with Nature (book)
- 12 Watercolour paint sets
- 100 Pencil crayons
- Pad of art paper
- Modeling clay (and instructions for Clay Faces)
Large Bin – Winter
- Animals in Winter (book)
- Hibernation game instructions and 6 small containers
- Animal signs bingo
- 3 winter tracking sheets
- Tracking stick and instructions
- 1 ruler
- Stranger in the Woods (book)
- Stranger in the Woods kit including hat, mitts, and scarf for the snowman
- Over and Under the Snow (book)
- 12 plastic pails and shovels, 8 metal spoons for shoveling snow
- The Snowy Day (book)
- Snowflake observation squares
- Snowflake identification sheet
- 8 small magnifiers
- The Manitous (storybook)
- Maple Moon (book)
Large Bin – Wonder
- I Wonder (book)
- Rabbits, Squirrels, and Chipmunks (book)
- Quick Reference to Wildflowers of Ontario (poster)
- Frogs, Toads, and Turtles (book)
- 12 large magnifying glasses
- 4 rulers
- Mini tape measure
- Soup or mud kitchen mini pots and pans
- 5 wicker collecting baskets
- 2 jute rope
- 4 Texture Sensory Boxes
- Forest game ideas
- Colour matching paint chips
Large Bin – Bugs
- 4 green and yellow viewers
- Peterson First Guide to Insects (book)
- Caterpillars, Bugs, and Butterflies (book)
- 6 telescoping Butterfly Nets
- 2 mini bug nets
- 12 bug boxes with magnifier lids
- 2 bug containers with tweezers
- 7 laminated Litter Critter identification sheets
- Minibeast hunt sheet
- Insect hunt ideas
- Plastic bugs for Insect hunt ideas (“camo trail” and “what is insect”)
Small Bin – Birds
4 Bushnell Binoculars
2 Kona Binoculars
Birds in Winter (book)
Birds, Nests and Eggs (book)
Quick Reference to Ontario Birds (book)
A sheet of ideas with websites: Christmas Bird Count, Backyard bird count
Small Bin – Binoculars
4 pair blue Bespin Binoculars
4 pair green Kidwinz Binoculars
4 pair Celestron Binoculars
Large Bin – Tracks
Tracks, Scats and Signs (book)
Big Tracks, Little Tracks (book)
Quick Reference to Animal Tracks of Eastern Ontario (poster)
Tracking Stick and instructions
Small bin – Trees
Quick Reference to Trees of Eastern Canada (poster)
Trees, Leaves, and Bark (book)
2 tree wheels for identifying Ontario conifers
Coniferous tree key
“Trees Provide Food” sheets
“Trees Provide Medicine” sheets
Learning through Monarch Milestones
by Sheila Potter
At the same time of year that children are beginning to feel tingles of nervousness about the impending return to school, a special generation of monarch butterfly caterpillars is munching ceaselessly, preparing for an epic adventure of their own. Known as the “super generation”, the monarch caterpillars that hatch in late summer live 8 times longer than their parents or grandparents and travel over 4000km to their overwintering home in Mexico.
This coincidence in timing offers an opportunity for teachers to greet nervous students with something that will amaze and inspire them, distracting them from their private worries and setting the tone for the entire year.
Although a September start to the school year is most often too late for students to witness the egg stage of the monarch’s life cycle, the timing is usually just right for students to see the fully-grown caterpillar turn into a gorgeous turquoise and gold chrysalis, and then emerge as a bright orange butterfly. The metamorphosis and journey of the monarchs also offers a vehicle for lessons in social studies and environmental science that become all the more real with the presence of the butterflies in the classroom.
For teachers who are interested in undertaking this project with their class, there are many resources available to further enhance the learning experience of their students:
Students can follow in the footsteps of Canadian zoologist, Dr Fred Urquhart who was the first to tag monarch butterflies and to verify that individual butterflies make the entire journey to Mexico. Monarch tagging kits can be ordered from monarchwatch.org and even very young students can easily tag the classroom butterflies before releasing them. Tag numbers and other data can be collected and entered into a database, helping to monitor the size of the monarch population that has lately been in decline due to habitat loss and other threats.
Follow Migration Patterns
Using the website, journeynorth.org/monarchs, students can observe the progress of the monarchs as they move across the continent, eventually arriving in Mexico near the end of October.
Art and cultural exchange
A Peterborough Project: the monarch ultra and mini-ultra
In 2019, a team of ultra runners, film-makers and pollinator advocates followed the flight of the monarch butterfly by running the same distance of 4,300km (2,671 miles) from Peterborough Ontario to central Mexico. At the same time, local schools were invited to participate in the Mini-Ultra”. Once a school registers for the Mini Monarch Ultra Program, students can start running anytime of the year. Schools are encouraged to keep track of the kilometres that the students run or walk, aiming for a total of 4,300km – the total distance monarch butterflies travel during their fall migration. You can learn more or get involved at: themonarchultra.com/mini-
Teaching the teacher
Raising monarchs requires a permit and a bit of knowledge. Teachers can learn all that they need to know by taking an excellent workshop from the Monarch Teacher Network: https://trca.ca/learning/
Click on the image to download this image and enjoy learning about Monarchs through art.
Pathway Project Awards 20/21
The Pathway to Stewardship and Kinship celebrated a year of exceptional contribution from our Pathway community at the Camp Kawartha Environment Centre on Oct. 3. The awards celebration highlighted the outstanding efforts of families, educators, schools, and community leaders who have contributed to the 14,295 Landmark activities reported in the past year.
“Fostering positive stewards today, for a healthy tomorrow is an endeavour that takes a village. Camp Kawartha is thrilled to work with its many partners to offer up positive stewardship experiences throughout each age and stage of a child’s development to inspire, empower and motivate our children to create a healthy planet where both people and nature can thrive. We are so excited to celebrate the good work of the many amazing educators who have helped to bring this project to life!”
We were delighted to recognize the following Pathway Explorers for their exceptional contribution over the last year.
Sunshine Daycare took the group award for Highest Landmark Points with 207 points. The Chickadees were close behind with 147 and captured the Family category for Highest Landmark Points.
Millbrook South Cavan Public School reported 1,203 experiences from their school clinching the prize for Highest Landmark Experiences, Group. The Nature Nuts took the award for Highest Landmark Points for a Family with 67 experiences reported.
The Outstanding Leadership Awards for exceptional contribution by an educator or community leader were:
Heather Snowball, Highland Heights
Emily Warren, Home Childcare
Lindsay Bowen, Immaculate Conception
Indrani Talapatra, KPR virtual Kindergarten
Lisa Gutoskie, R.F. Downey
The following schools and centres completed the Trailblazer, Step 1: Acorn program and are moving into the Trailblazer, Step 2: Sapling program
Highland Heights Public School
Millbrook South Cavan Public School
Peterborough Child and Family Centres
Compass Early Learning Home Childcare
Northern Lights Children’s Daycare
Trent Childcare at St. Luke’s
Congratulations to all the winners and to each person who has supported the Pathway Project. As the program continues to grow we are inspired and encouraged by all the great work and goodwill. Keep an eye out for more family outreach opportunities throughout the upcoming year.
The Pathway Project is a community partnership directed by Camp Kawartha and sponsored by the Ontario Trillium Foundation. Its many partners include Peterborough Public Health, Otonabee Conservation, Peterborough Child and Family Centres, GreenUP, regional Boards of Education, The City of Peterborough, Fleming College and Trent University. The project promotes 30 age-linked Landmarks developed through extensive research and community consultation. These Landmarks are a step-wise approach to fostering healthy kids with strong skills in stewardship and leadership.
As we begin to prepare for the new school year in the fall, I’m reaching out on behalf of the Pathway to Stewardship and Kinship to see if you’re interested in submitting an application to provide programming for local children and/or youth. We’re grateful for support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, which allows us to share fee-for-service subsidies with local individuals and groups to help involve more children in ‘Landmark’ activities.
The Pathway Project is based on 30 Landmarks that span a child’s development from birth through the late teens. These Landmarks are a step-by-step approach to fostering lifelong connections to nature and community, while developing skills in stewardship and leadership. As well, Landmark experiences help children improve physical and mental health, while building vibrant communities and a healthy environment. A summary of the Pathway Landmarks and corresponding age groups is attached; more Landmark details are on our website.
Does your work involve ‘Landmark’ activities with children and youth? Would you appreciate support to expand your outreach?
We can offer funding to support costs if you can provide Landmark-linked programs in local schools or early learning centres. (Schools and EL centres themselves are not eligible to apply.)
Criteria for Consideration:
- Ability to offer unique programs for a Landmark activity not readily available elsewhere
- Ability to engage large numbers of children or youth (although some proposals for shorter-term programs with smaller groups may also be considered)
- Ability to provide a high-quality experience for children or youth
- Funding support will enable you to deliver the program free of charge to participants
- Proposed activities are not existing services that your organization regularly offers, which already have existing secure funding
- Ability to market your Pathway activity through existing networks
- Ability to involve students in hands-on community improvement projects is not required,but will be considered an asset (projects should have an environmental, health or social justice focus)
- While individual organizations may focus their activities on specific age groups, we aim to include a range of target ages when selecting recipients for funding support
- Ability to provide an up-to-date Vulnerable Sector Police Record Check (prior to beginning your project, if approved)
How We Can Help:
- We can offer up to $6,500 in staffing costs to an average of 8 regional proposals
- Potential to contribute towards materials costs for supplies such as plants, outdoor art supplies and creative play materials
- Promotion of the services offered by your organization
How to Apply:
Please submit a letter of interest to email@example.com no later than Tuesday, August 31, 2021.
In your letter, include:
1. A detailed description of the activity or experience you propose to offer
2. Which specific Landmark(s)your program will address
3. The number of children you will involve
4. Who is your intended audience (schools,families,earlylearningcentres,others?)
5. The target age range of children or youth
6. The time frame of your project (ongoing or seasonal)
7. A brief description of how you plan to recruit participants
8. Your staffing costs (# of hours, wage, # of people)
9. Materials costs (if applicable)
10.While we hope Covid restrictions will ease next year, explain whether you could adapt your program for virtual delivery if needed
For the upcoming year, the project year-end will be August 31, 2022 (proposed activities must be complete and documented by the end of August next year).
In the past year, successful community partnerships have involved a total of 7500 children and 500 adults in Landmark-related activities which have resulted in an incredible 14,000 individual experiences for regional children and youth! What an impact we can have when we work together! What’s more, when these experiences are reported on the Pathway website, ideas can be shared with others to inspire even more parents and teachers to get involved.
Whether or not we’re able to offer you financial support this year, we applaud the important work you do in our region, and look forward to continuing to work in partnership for the wellbeing of all children and youth. Contact Cathy Dueck, Pathway Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
KWIC leads the way with secondary classes
This past school year, the Pathway Project has worked with many wonderful partner organizations to bring unique and memorable experiences to children and youth. The Kawartha World Issues Centre (KWIC) has provided the first workshops for secondary students, based on Landmark 29: “Explore a local issue of social justice and develop a plan to raise public awareness or motivate public involvement.”
KWIC works from the Trent University campus and Sadlier House, fostering equitable and sustainable communities by expanding our understanding of the world and connecting people with local initiatives that reflect global issues – focussed on environmental and social justice issues.
KWIC staff and volunteers put their years of experience into creating a 4-part workshop series for secondary students, exploring the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs). Adopted in 2015, with a global challenge to tackle them by 2030, the 17 interlinked goals address issues of universal concern, including ending poverty and hunger, tackling climate change, and promoting just, peaceful and inclusive societies.
Workshop 1: Introduction to the UN SDGs (exploring the 17 goals through global, national, and local lenses; creating a social media challenge)
Workshop 2: Localizing the SDGs (examples of local action; establishing personal priorities; actions to help themselves and others)
Workshop 3: Youth as Agents of Change (examples of youth having an impact on issues of peace, justice, gender equality, and climate change; what young people are doing locally and how to get involved)
Workshop 4: Leaving No-One Behind (how discrimination, inequalities, and other root causes can create alienation and inaction; local examples; what can be done)
During the winter and spring, KWIC worked with more than 600 students to raise their awareness of the SDGs, hear their voices, and develop personal priorities and plans of action. In spite of an on-line setting necessitated by the Covid pandemic, students were involved through the whole process – responding through the ‘chat’ function, creating group poems, completing polls and playing interactive games with the help of online platforms, such as Kahoot and Slido.
Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Students enjoyed the clear explanations and interactive components. Many were unaware of the SDGs and their importance, and enjoyed the opportunity to learn about them and to get involved locally. Students were from a wide range of secondary classes, including Environmental Science, Geography, Drama, Food and Nutrition, Contemporary Voices of First Nations, and English. We’re grateful to these secondary teachers for involving their classes in the workshops.
Our thanks to KWIC for providing this exceptional opportunity for local youth, and to the skilled and committed youth workshop facilitators who guided the process.
Kawartha World Issues Centre (KWIC) connects people to global issues and local initiatives that can change how we understand the world and foster equitable and sustainable communities. We make positive change through three key program areas: Community Education, Youth & In School Programs and Umbrella Support for small and emerging community projects.
KWIC creates a local culture of global citizenship prioritizing inclusive inter-generational spaces that amplify diverse voices and knowledge systems through educational workshops, programs and events. KWIC is a grassroots registered charity led by a small, dedicated staff and amazing volunteers working in collaboration with talented community partners. You can visit us on our website at kwic.info for more information and opportunities to get involved, or to book a workshop!”
2021 Summer – Junior Park Program
The City of Peterborough, Recreation Division, is offering a free outdoor play program for children 4 to 8 years of age. Parents are asked to remain in the park during program hours.
All Public Health Guidelines and COVID-19 safety protocols will be in place and must be followed.
Weekly Schedule (July 5 to July 23)
Week 1: Under the Sea
July 5 to July 9 – 10:30 am – 2:30 pm
Turner Park | Kiwanis Park
Week 2: Let’s Celebrate the Holidays
July 12 to July 16 | 10:30 am – 2:30 pm
Turner Park | Kiwanis Park
Week 3: Disney Fun!
July 19 to July 23. |. 10:30 am – 2:30 pm
Turner Park | Kiwanis Park
Weekly Schedule (July 26 to Aug 13)
Week 4: Passport to Travel
July 26 to July 30 | 10:30 am – 2:30 pm
John Taylor Park | Stewart Street Park
Week 5: Outer Space
August 3 to August 6 | 10:30 am – 2:30 pm
John Taylor Park | Stewart Street Park
Week 6: Animal Kingdom
August 9 to August 13 | 10:30 am – 2:30 pm
John Taylor Park | Stewart Street Park
For more information contact Youth Recreationist Ellen Stewart at email@example.com
Family-Friendly Summer Activities
Getting outside with your baby or toddler is great for the whole family. A bit of fresh air and exercise can help you and your child calm down, relax and refocus.
A hat, some sunscreen for babies over six months and a water bottle are necessities.
Sweet Summer Fun with Babies and Toddlers
Nancy Doherty, Pathway Activity Consultant
Enjoy time together, forget about the dirty dishes and enjoy some of these experiences:
1. A walk around the block may be enough for your toddler, they often like to stop and pick up every stone or stick, as they explore their world. Outdoors our senses are stimulated; see the colourful flowers, look up at the clouds, hear the chattering squirrels, singing birds, the smell of blossoms, feel of the wind touch the rough bark on the tree.
2. A picnic in a park or your backyard may be a new experience. Talk about the ants, the feel of the grass, the blue sky; introduce new words, label the colours you see.
3. A visit to a stream or creek provides opportunities for watching the water flow, throwing sticks or stones in the water to see a splash, or dipping toes in the water. Keep your eyes open for frogs and minnows or turn over some rocks to see the crayfish.
4. Set up a tent in the backyard, babies can crawl in and play some peek-a-boo, toddlers may bring their favourite toys and play or listen to a story while enjoying a new experience.
5. Play with some water, fill up a container that they can dip, dump, and discover in! Add sponges, rocks, shells, and cups of different sizes. Toddlers might decide to add some grass or dirt.
Water invites all kinds of discoveries; bathing dolls or toys, add a paintbrush and paint with water, fill up a watering can and water plants, climbing in the bin, and splashing. With support and encouragement from parents, children learn to love being in nature.
Currently, programs are offered virtually but watch for the Summer Schedule coming soon.
Simple Summer Activities
Kim Dobson, Pathway Activity Consultant
Looking for critters in a pond or creek: For some ideas on pond studies and what you’ll find in ponds and creeks, watch the Hidden Life of Ponds with Jacob Rodenburg or Swamped with Nature Nancy. There are so many areas in and around Peterborough to take your net and container and take off your shoes and get looking: Jackson’s Creek, Warsaw Caves Conservation Area, Millbrook pond and trout ponds, the Back Dam in Warsaw, around the edges of Little Lake and Squirrel Creek. Imagine the Marsh Conservation Area, Miller’s Creek Conservation Area, Hope Mill Conservation Area, and any body of water excluding sandy beaches (you won’t find much life on pure sand).
But pure sand is great for swimming, so take the family to a beach: Selwyn Conservation Area, the beach area at Warsaw Caves Conservation Area, Lakefield Beach, Beavermead, Roger’s Cove, Jones Beach in Bridgenorth, Henry’s Gumming Beach in Curve Lake, Ennismore Waterfront Park, Douro Park, Sandy Lake Beach outside Buckhorn, Quarry Bay Beach on Stoney Lake off of Northey’s Bay Road, Kasshabog Lake Beach north of Havelock.
While you’re there, try your hand at making a sand castle. You can either use the traditional buckets and shovels or try the drip method
More into land activities?
Family hikes: Whether it’s a walk around the neighbourhood, a hike through Jackson Park, or further afield, like a hike to High Falls, nothing beats a walk in the woods with your family. Take a picnic (food is a great motivator for little ones on a hike) and walking shoes and away you go. Socks and shoes are helpful for stability but also because of the poison ivy and/or insects. Kawartha Land Trust has many areas with trails that are open to the public, from the Jeffrey Cowan property on Stoney Lake to the John Earle Chase Memorial Park on Pigeon Lake. Find maps and directions on the Kawartha Land Trust website
Become a citizen scientist this summer. Contribute to scientific data being gathered all over the world. It’s as easy as snapping a photo of anything from frogs, plants, insects, and posting them in apps like iNaturalist, eBird, Seek, Bumblebee Watch, Herps of Ontario (part of iNaturalist), Leafsnap. These citizen science apps, and contributing to research, have the added benefit of getting your family to observe what is around them, learning the names of these things, and learning more about them, which in turn will hopefully create a context for caring about these living things and taking care of them.
Create a Butterflyway: Seven steps to creating a Butterflyway from David Suzuki’s website
- Grow native wildflowers, Invest in a tree or shrub, Create a woodpile bug hotel, Leave sunny soil patches for bees,
- Provide a water source, Learn more about local bees and butterflies, Create a neighbourhood Butterflyway!
Unstructured free time: this is what summer is all about and it’s been proven that unstructured free time outdoors is very beneficial for child development and also for connecting to the environment.
Unstructured play provides a variety of benefits for child and youth health and well-being, in terms of: physical health and gross motor skills, mental and emotional health, social health and teamwork, learning and attention at school, and resiliency and risk management skills.
If your child is not used to unstructured free time outside, it might take time to build up their comfort level, stamina and also their imaginations as to what to do with this free time. Start with short time frames and some suggestions and build up to longer times and less “interference”. Most often, if given the time and space, kids will come up with imaginative things to do that you would never have considered. When you think that they are done, and they are saying that they don’t know what to do, give them more time and see what happens. This is often when the magic happens!
Bring the family to a Provincial Park, they are free this summer Monday to Thursday for day use. Provincial Parks in our area are: Petroglyphs Provincial Park, Silent Lake Provincial Park, Emily Provincial Park, Balsam Lake Provincial Park, and further afield Presqu’il Provincial Park.
Get out after dark and stargaze. Several wonderful apps for identifying constellations are: Skyview, Google Sky, SkySafari, Star Tracker and to find out where the International Space Station is, there is even an app for that, called International Space Station.
Even more activities for kids 5+
Nancy Thomson, Pathway Activity Consultant
1. Geocaching, the world’s biggest treasure hunt! If you like looking for treasures and discovering new places then Geocaching is for you. All you need is a smart phone or a GPS unit, get an account and decide which treasure hunt you will start with. There are likely many geocaches close to where you live and there are thousands in Peterborough and the Kawarthas to be found. Go to Geocaching.com and create your account and the geocache options will pop up. Walk, take a bike or make an unexpected stop while traveling this summer. It is an amazing way to explore the land.
2. Build a Fort
A cool place to beat the heat this summer is in the forest and Peterborough has plenty of them to explore. Jackson Park is the first one that comes to mind and is the perfect spot to build a fort. Let the children figure out what will make forts strong, waterproof, warm at night, and of course stylish. Please remember to ensure that the fort builders are aware of animal homes and not to cut live branches for their forts as we are sharing the land with so many creatures, big and small.
3. Get on your BIKE and ride!
The Great Trail (otherwise known as the TransCanada Trail) runs right through Peterborough and to the east and west. There are many sections of the trail that are on old rail trails allowing for easy biking adventures while minimizing exposure to motorized vehicles. You can bike all the way to Hastings and beyond on the trail, stopping for a picnic along the way. Or, if you want to go the other way, head west towards Omemee and discover the beautiful lands around the county. Visit https://tctrail.ca/ and see the section of the trail you want to discover.
4. Canoeing and Kayaking the Canal
A canoe trip doesn’t just have to be in the vast wilderness. Exploring the Peterborough area along the canal is a really fun and exciting way to spend a summer day. Whether you start in Little Lake or in Lakefield, you can travel along the canal and stop for a bite along the way, at a local café or the picnic you brought to eat at your favourite lock. If you don’t have your own boat or one to borrow, LiftLock Paddle Co has canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards with a PFD included. Explore the lock system or just paddle the lakes that make the Kawarthas a destination for many travelers.
5. Beach Volleyball
Bring a hat, some sunscreen and a beach ball (or volleyball of course) and enjoy the sand in your toes as you play a game of beach volleyball. There are 6 courts available for public use at Beavermead Park in Peterborough on a first come first serve basis. If they are already rented when you get there, there is an amazing playground, field space, and beach as some easy alternatives to your game. A visit to Ecology Park could also be a quick alternative but it is a worthwhile trip on its own.
6. The Perfect Solution to a Hot Summer’s Night
One of my favourite memories, when my kids were young, were the nights when we went “off script”. Instead of a regular bedtime routine, we planned a special evening on those hottest of hot summer evenings. Packing up a dinner picnic with some cool treats, we headed to a park with a splash pad. After dinner (instead of bath, book, bed) the kids would have fun in the splash pad, cooling them down after a hot day. At the park, we would change them into their PJs, read a book, and head home where they would be tucked into bed (likely negotiating for one more book before lights out). Such special memories.
There is lots of fun under the sun, but here is a wonderful activity from our Outdoor Activity Consultant, Kelly, King, that brings you out after dark for a late-night adventure.
Night Vision Journeys
Kelly King, Pathway Activity Consultant
Did you know? Red light helps to preserve our night vision because of the low frequency it has when it meets our eyes. At really low, or red light, conditions our eyes produce a chemical called rhodopsin which allows us to more easily see in the dark. From the last bright light, we see it can take about 20 to 40 minutes for our eyes to start producing rhodopsin. This means you’ll need to make sure you’re only using your red light and not looking at any bright lights like street lamps, cellphones, or watches for 20 to 40 minutes before you start seeing the benefits of your night vision flashlight!
What you’ll need:
Small piece of plastic (like saran wrap)
What to do:
1. Colour one side of the plastic with your red marker.
2. Cover the end of your flashlight with the red plastic and secure it with an elastic band.
3. Take your red light on your next night hike and note how much more you can see when you don’t have bright lights around you!