We have been fortunate to join an amazing group of welcoming families involved in an Outdoor Preschool. This group meets weekly at the same location, no matter the weather, throughout the year. The format of every meeting is: begin with a greeting song, hike down the trail to the story knoll (about .25 mile), read a book (the story knoll is under the cover of some large fir trees so it is dry even on rainy days and there are fallen trees that provide seating), a little further hike to beach (another .25 mile) picking huckleberries & blueberries in season, at the beach parents often make a fire and roast hotdogs, snacks are shared. there is an island that at low tide is accessible by a tombolo, trees along the beach provide as great shelter against the wind and precipitation. Tide pools are also accessible at low tide. In the summer salmon can be seen splashing around, with seals bobbing up in down in search of them and curious as to what the kids are doing. We've only been here about 2 months, and haven't seen it ourselves, but whales can be seen in the cove too! Last week the kids spotted and caught a wood frog they only slightly terrified and gently put back after they scrutinized him.
I've participated and even started groups similar to this, but with less structure. The key to picking a good places to regularly meet is choosing one that has options such as protection from the canopy of the forest. Meeting in the same location every time is a a great way to learn about place intimately through the seasons and all the changes it cycles through.
I love how welcoming and accessible this group is. Its future is a little shaky right now. The moms who originally started it a couple of years ago, now have kids that have moved on to elementary school, but the torch has been carried on by a few other parents. The mama who has recently been carrying on has her kiddos moving into the school world this fall and no one has picked up the baton yet. I would, but I'm being good to myself and my family, by not over stretching myself. I will gladly help where I can though.