Twice during the last few months, I volunteered to watch the child of one of the female veterans I know during a Friday afternoon. The first time we hung out so that he didn't have to attend class with his mom (he had no school that day, she had no other baby sitter), it was rainy so we holed up in a Starbucks and played the most fun game of Yahtzee you can imagine (TWO yahtzees for the kid!).
The next time she needed help with coverage I decided to take him on a day hike in Forest Park and again we had SO.MUCH.FUN! Now you should know that 6-10 year old boys are one of my favorite age groups anyway, cause they're usually so full of adventure and imagination. Since Landon is an active kiddo and apparently hadn't been able to go hiking a lot, he also had a complete blast running across downed logs, hopping across the creek, and trying to find new ways to explore the surroundings. (Totally recognize that I should have kept him on path more than I did :( but trying to manage both dogs was a challenge that day so I picked my battles)
It was so neat seeing the trail through a kiddo's eyes though and being able to expose him to something new. I also realized how many learning opportunities the trek created and that it would have been so easy to turn it into a "lesson" at another date (stream ecology, forest habitat, local varieties of flora/fauna, environmental degradation, survival skills...and the list goes on). (As a high school student, I actually helped lead week long outdoor ed courses for local elementary kids and I so loved it!)
Landon and his mom just relocated back to the east coast since she was able to graduate this term, but I'm a little bummed I didn't get to take the little buddy on a backpacking trip before they skeddaddled out of here. He is the perfect age and energy level for it :)
All around such fun opportunities though and makes me realize again how much fun exploring nature can be with a kiddo in tow!