Coyote information to keep your kids safe when hiking or playing in the forest
Enjoying nature with your little ones can be wonderful. Worrying they are going to be eaten by a coyote, not so wonderful.
How do you keep your kids from being a bite-sized coyote snack?
First, here is a short video on what is called Coyote Hazing, produced by our town.
We tend to stick to the same general area to play in the forest. This allows the kids to leave bigger projects like building shelters or obstacles courses or bridges they can come back to another day. In our familiar area of the forest we have never seen a coyote. However, a mountain biker we see a few times a week, told me that another hiker had been surrounded by a few coyotes just up the trail from where we go. Scary!
So we have taken a few steps to make sure the kids learn how to deal with coyotes.
We have practiced putting your hands way over your head, (with a big stick is extra points) and yelling “GO AWAY!”
We have played coyote many times, with the above, and making sure no one turns and runs, because apparently that can encourage coyotes to chase you.
The two older kids, who occasionally go a little further than the younger kids, have very loud whistles.
I have an air horn, which should scare off most animals.
We are double checking any new areas we play in for brush or little shelters that could be used as coyote dens.
Has anyone come across a coyote in Oakville or otherwise?
This recent sighting makes me a little extra cautious, but it won’t stop us from enjoying the outdoors, and it seems to add to the adventure. The kids are even enjoying our new “Coyote” game and have added it to their rotation.
The days are still cold, but we are getting stronger and more resilient by enjoying the fresh air. Join us by doing this checklist:
1. Find treasures under a log… hopefully some cool bugs and plants. Don’t forget to put it back to how you have found it.
2. Look for mushrooms. Collect a small variety to learn what they are when you get home. We usually carry a box with us to put in interesting discoveries.
3. Make a simple bird feeder to help the birds make it through the winter. Belle made a simple one. She spread peanut butter on a stick and sprinkled bird seed on the peanut butter. Then she put the stick as high as she could get it on a tree.
We came back the next day to see if birds had come to eat the seeds, but it was gone. There was a lot of curiosity about whether a coyote had eaten the stick.
4. Find a bug. We were gifted an amazing magnifying glass. The kids have been enjoying checking out a variety of items with the magnifying glass. Hands and fingers have been a favourite. We are hoping to find a dead spider or bee to learn about the physical characteristics.
5. Climb a tree. This is a challenge for us. Our little neck of the woods is quite dense so the branches start quite high. We have a decent climbing tree out front, but we will keep looking for one in the forest.
Post or msg me if you want to join in. Complete the whole challenge, post about it and you can have a private sneak peak at how we spent our Spring break. You may get some ideas.
How do you keep kids safe when hiking near or through water?
We all want to make sure our kids stay safe. So how do you balance teaching your children a healthy respect of the water, while still letting them enjoy the opportunities that water can provide?
Check out the creek/river before bringing your children, it may help you plan for risks better. For example, we only go to the creek when my just over 1 year old can stay with my husband, because he is curious, but not ready.
Before unleashing your children in the water, review safety rules with them
No children near the water without a grown up. For us, one side of the trail is off limits because of cliffs and water. So they are not allowed to go off the trail on that side without a grown up.
Kids always stay close to the grown up when we are in or near water.
Help them find ways to learn to use their own judgement about rock steadiness, or slipperiness.
Look for spots where the water is shallower than your child’s knees.
Be sure there is little to no current.
Dress appropriately, for us on a warmer day in the winter, the kids wear full rain gear with elastic leg holes – over their snow suits, with lined rubber boots.
Let them explore, there is so much to do at the creek!!
Fear for your child’s safety is natural. However, if you don’t introduce some risky play to your young child, how will they learn to deal with fear.
Be safe about it, but with the right creek, water play is awesome.
Owen is learning how to walk in the snow covered branches, leaves and rocks. Not an easy task for a 14 month old! Although, soft and squishy footwear allows him to use his feet more effectively.
Belle found a small creek, we stopped to play for about half an hour. She poked it, threw things in it and finally dipped her boot in it. She decided against a full soaker this time…. but she found a giant puddle down the trail, so don’t worry, she was able to get messy!
After walking around and eating a tonne of snow, Owen fell asleep in the stroller. This worked out great, because we didn’t have to rush home for nap time and got to play in the snowy forest even longer!