Off The Beaten Trail

Have you gone off the beaten trail lately?

Last weekend we met up with some friends for ice cream. We put our kids on bikes or in the bike trailer and even grabbed the odd neighbourhood kid and rode down to the local DQ. As it happens, the Dairy Queen has a nice outside table that overlooks the bike trail that is currently under development. Most of it is paved, but at the end of the block, it is gravel. And right there at the DQ, not only is it gravel, but it is gravel that is under about 4-5 inches of water.

Yes, mud puddles!!

Sometimes a trail is just the beginning.

Mud puddles are like a high-powered magnet. Our kids, a nice big ol’ sheet of scrap metal. Ka-ching! Contact! The kids could not resist the force pulling them in to the mud. (Could you blame them?)

They rode their bikes through the puddle, cautiously at first, then faster and faster and faster until they were spraying water everywhere and their faces were covered in mud.

Just they way they like it.

To rinse off, they found a cleaner puddle in a paved parking lot and streamed through it a few times. Much better. Ready to go home.

Off the beaten path doesn't need to be far away.

And when they got home, without any prompting from parents, they began proudly sponging off their bikes.

What did they learn by playing? Tons! They learned about the force of water acting on their moving bikes. They learned about speed and water trajectory, water displacement, the coolness of mud puddle water, and even a bit about taking care of their equipment. Not only did I like what I saw, but it reminded me that sometimes we don’t have to leave the city to go off the beaten trail. Mud, adventure, and the opportunity to discover new motor skill are right in front of us. All we have to do is think like a kid.

How about you? Have you let your kids off the beaten trail lately? How did it go? What memories did you create?

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