Exploring Okinawa’s great outdoors with your children

Photos by Allie Whalen
Photos by Allie Whalen

Exploring Okinawa’s great outdoors with your children

by Allie Whalen
Stripes Okinawa

“I never go out knowing what I am going to find. The interest is in finding what I didn’t know I was going to find.”
– Henry David Thoreau

One of my favorite things to do with my kids has always been to just take a walk and see what we can see. I’ve never been the type to worry about a list or a plan. I prefer to walk out the door and let the adventure unfold. But there was a book that kept coming across my radar again and again. I would see it on Amazon as a suggestion, I would see it used in homeschool curriculums, and I would see my friends’ posts about all the fun they were having with it!

I couldn’t contain my curiosity any longer so I went ahead and purchased The Nature Connection by Clare Walker Leslie. We didn’t need much motivation to be out in nature before buying this book, but since we’ve had it, we go out with our eyes and ears open a little more for the wonders around us.

In our nomadic lifestyle we have the opportunity to live in different homes in different parts of the world. This provides us with endless opportunities to explore around us. It’s a thrill to find new-to-us species of plants, animals, and insects! With The Nature Connection book we can keep track of our treasures.

When we are out for bike rides and walks we often stumble across areas that we want to explore more. This little island we live on is full of places that interest us! We recently adventured to a park close to our home that has a stream, hiking trails, ancient trees, a pond, and ample areas to find bugs. Instead of just winging it this time we went prepared with our nature workbook and a list of things to look for!

One of my favorite parts of The Nature Connection book is the month-by-month guide to exploring nature. This part makes it so easy to find new things to appreciate about each month of the year. We had a great time doing a July Nature Study together. We kept ours bug-themed because there is no lack of bugs this time of year in Okinawa! We ended up finding even more bugs than we thought we would and we even found some unique-colored bugs.

We were able to talk about the lifecycle of butterflies and moths. We also observed many different mini habitats that we don’t normally notice. The kids turned over stones, logs, and leaves to find tiny ants and huge cicadas. They loved digging in the soil to see what else they could find. We even watched fish swimming in the pond.

It was a hot and sweaty morning together but we left with a new appreciation for this little park (and all of its life!) near our home.

If you’d like to follow along on more summer reading adventures for the kids in your life, then head on over to Mother in the Mountains. She has an awesome post that will help you appreciate math! (Really, it will!) And then make sure you’re following all the book adventures on Instagram by checking out #bookswithfriends. 

Allie Whalen is a culinary artist and amateur photographer with a love for the outdoors. She has recently begun sharing her experiences online where she talks about natural and healthy ways to take care of your body and the world around you. She is a military spouse based in Okinawa near Camp Hansen.

Allie and her family are excited make beautiful Okinawa their best move yet. There they enjoy the rugged, tranquil life on the northern parts of the island. You can find Allie’s blog, where she details her travels, basic conservation techniques, home education, and leading a healthy lifestyle.

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