Foraging is a bit of my family’s fun that is not for everyone.  First of all, when we get out in nature we come across lots of bugs and other creatures.  The critters we find under fallen logs and rocks are another kind of family fun!  We also have to watch out for itchy or sticky plants.  Mud on our feet and leaves in our hair are expected as well.  Coming home with tears in our clothes and smudges on our faces is not out of the question either.

what to take

With all that being said, foraging, for me,  is a great way to spend time outside with family or friends.  My grandkids, niece, and nephews especially like to ramble with me.  There are usually a few dogs (and sometimes a cat) with us, too.  We take along a basket, some scissors, and start looking.  We always take along a camera, too. Some things that can’t be collected make beautiful memories or printed art. For example, we find different kinds of mushrooms really neat and love looking back at them.

where we go foraging

Some of the places that we gather from include the woods surrounding our own property, property belonging to family or friends, and roadsides.  I would always suggest getting permission before going onto private property.  Also, remember that state and national parks do not usually allow this activity.  I’m a rule follower, so I always check first!

things to look for

I never really know what I am looking for.  I just look for things that I find interesting.  We always collect pinecones.  Sweet gum balls are also a favorite of mine.  My oldest grandson loves bark.  He has even learned not to take it from a living tree.  We enjoy pressing colorful leaves in the fall.  Seed pods and spent flowers that have dried on the stem are great finds for us, too.  My helpers tend to love finding rocks, especially when they contain fossils.  We might even come home with a tree limb turned walking stick or imaginary sword.  

what to do with foraged items

The things that we find are often turned into crafts or art.  Sometimes the kids use them as treasure in their play.  Sometimes they are given as treasured gifts by small hands that I love.  Quite frequently the gatherings are simply placed in a wooden box on the porch for us to look at.

I particularly like to decorate with our natural finds.  Paired with one of my vintage baskets, pinecones can decorate a space year round.  Small flowers and ferns get pressed between the pages of my favorite books.  Dried flowers, seed pods, and leaves go into my homemade potpourri.  Grasses, vines, and twigs along with abandoned nests find their way into wreaths on my family’s front doors.  

why foraging is a worthwhile activity

I think that foraging is educational as well as fun for the family.  Learning about and enjoying our environment  can lead us to be better humans. There is nothing I would rather do with the children in my life than this simple activity.   We listen, talk, laugh, and discover.  I gain so much peace by just being in nature listening, touching, and breathing in.  

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