It’s time for the yearly get outside, but with knowledge, for safe, rewarding time enjoying nature post!

Outdoor exploration time with preschoolers is a joy. To keep it that way it’s important to know the outdoor hazards in your area. There are different dangerous plants, insects, and animals depending on where you live. You can get information from a variety of places. Every state has a department of fish and game and other free outdoor resources including your local agricultural extension service. Most counties have a lot of free outdoor information online.

Prevention is key. Teach your child to recognize hazards early and your child can feel comfortable outdoors for life.

Here are a few things to learn about and teach your child so your child will feel confident outside. This is a basic list and not complete.

Know the dangerous plants in your area and teach children to stay clear of them. Examples:

Poison Ivy

Poison Oak

Poison Sumac

Know the dangerous animals and insects in your area. Examples:

Snakes—copperhead, cottonmouth, rattle

Black widow spider

Ticks (have a tick key for easy removal)

You can buy a field guide, or you can print out pictures from your online search. For very young children, explain that we never put plants in our mouths, unless you know your plants and are teaching which plants are edible. Here is a list of ones to never eat…

Peterson Guides are wonderful. I also like Pocket Naturalist Guides. They are small laminated flyers that cover the most common North American trees, plants, animal, etc. The small guides are great for hiking and identifying animals and plants. They even cover wilderness survival. The guides are easy and fun for young children to use with your help. They can be found at...

Our world is full of resources so use them from Google to talking to park rangers on what to look out for in that area. A little preparation can help everyone feel competent and prepared to enjoy the great outdoors.