If you are looking for a free outdoor activity besides a playground, check out your local Audubon trail. The Audubon Society of RI currently is promoting their Passport to the Trails. The premise behind the Passport is to explore the 10 refuges listed and find the hidden symbol. Then record your visit with a crayon rubbing into your Passport.
Complete 6 trail rubbings by September 30, 2011, and return it to receive a cool prize. Complete all 10 and earn a little bit more, plus get entered to win the Grand Prize of Pentax Binoculars. Go to either the Smithfield or Bristol locations (or you even might find a booklet at the REI in Cranston) and pick up the little green booklet. Then pick one of the 10 sites and start exploring. Check out www.asri.org for details.
On Saturday, I took the two mini hikers to the Powder Mill Ledges Refuge in Smithfield, RI. The kids were able to complete the 1.25 mile loop with ease, and occasional rest stop and bug search. When you are hiking in the outdoors, regardless of the length, there are a few things I recommend. Though it is short hike, I always pack water and snacks. And don't forget the sunblock, bug spray and a crayon (for the rubbings). I also hike with a mini first aid kit, since my kids are accident prone. And if you don't have it, I highly recommend the Poison Ivy spray, as Booger has fallen into a patch or two over the years. In the words of George Washington Carver, "Reading about nature is fine, but if a person walks in the woods and listens carefully, he can learn more than what is in the books."