Outdoor activities with a healthy dose of curiosity, brought to you by Laure Latham
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A Strawberry moon is the full moon of the month of June. It got its name from Algonquin tribes who knew it as a sign to harvest ripening fruit and indeed, June is peak time to gather strawberries. Thanks to the summer solstice and the close end of the school year, the strawberry moon is also a great time of the year for kids to play outside and to enjoy nature late in the day when days are long.
This post is part of an educational Free Unit Studies series and this week’s theme is Strawberries. I take the theme outdoors and all it encompasses under the Strawberry Moon. To celebrate the Strawberry Moon, here are outdoor activities for kids of all ages. Feel free to add them to your solstice party with family and friends! It is only fitting that this celebration of Strawberry Moons should begin with an Algonquin game for kids.
Famous for their canoes, the Algonquin people live in southern Quebec and eastern Ontario in Canada. Many of their tales, particularly war stories, stress the magic power of song and birds are said to have inspired their composers. The game of gugwetc (ghost, literally owl) is similar to a game of tag for kids and is best for groups. Owls were associated with Algonquin witchcraft and were a bad omen, hence the part where kids have to run away from the ghost in the game.
The game of gugwetc is best played on a sandy beach or in the sandy part of a playground, but any other surface on which you can trace lines works as well. Think chalk on pavement or stick in dirt. To make the instructions less cluttered, I used the word “sand” to mean any surface you have picked to play the game. As far as materials, you will need:
Wild strawberries are the ultimate summer delicacy and considered quite a treasure, not only because their intense taste is second to none, but because they rarely grow in abundance. When you find a patch, you will need to eat them fast because they don’t keep well and crush easily.
Ready for your wild strawberry hike? A last word before you go, regarding the poem above. The English Great War poet, Robert Graves, cherished seasonal cycles and loved nature. Back from WW1, he took to cycling the then quiet county roads of the Oxford countryside, crisscrossed by rivers, fields and streams. Inspired by the natural bounty of early summer, he penned this famous poem about wild strawberries.
Such an ode to wild food is well worth a family hike, don’t you think?
Sticks are a lot of fun and extremely versatile. Can your kids build a raft strong enough to float strawberries on water on the night of the strawberry moon? This activity is inspired by a raft-building Cub Scout challenge. As far as materials, you will need:
To celebrate the Strawberry Moon in Algonquin style, why not go for a paddle? Here are the various water activities that you can join with your kids to celebrate this special moon:
For a full Strawberry Moon canoe experience, you can even find a paddle-in campsite and go camping with your canoe under the Strawberry Moon! You can find paddle-in campsites in many places by Googling “paddle in campsite,” “canoe/kayak in campsite” or “boat in campsite.” However to get you started, here are a few easy resources that might inspire your family adventures: