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"Mama! Mama, look! Look! I found a toad!"
(repeat, 96 times a day, all summer long)

It's pretty tough to gross me out. When my kids or summer campers discover a critter, I'm the first one that gets to see the thing with "tickly legs" or "slimy skin," and I usually can either identify it for them or help them look up the answer in one of our many guidebooks to Minnesota flora and fauna. And truly, it's a joy. Their little faces lighting up over the discovery of a wild creature blesses my heart tremendously, for many reasons.

Discovery--a word whose very synonyms are "unearthing, locating, finding, inventing." What great things for our kids! Learning takes many forms, and spending time outdoors lends itself well to challenging children to think outside the box, and discover for themselves the secrets of nature and life processes. Think about what they understand when they find a living treasure: they learn very quickly how that creatur…

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