The Shoe In, Shoe Out hiking activity gives kids a better idea of what kind of ecological footprint they're leaving -- by examining the actual footprints they leave.
We think hiking boots are best for hitting the dusty trail. But this experiment shows that sneakers could be healthier for the wild and wonderful plants seen see along the way.
Lay out small cuttings from six or seven of your kids' favorite yard plants. Tell them to take a few normal steps over those plants with their sneaker-covered feet. How do the plant bits look? Did they survive the 'hike'?
Now have kids slip into some hiking boots and repeat the experiment. Are the greens squashed?
Hiking boots are much tougher on plant life than ordinary sneakers. The next time your kids go for a hike off the beaten trail, put them in their favorite sneaks and do the indigenous plant life a favor.
Kids should enjoy their sneakers while they can: The hiking activity on the next page might just require them to leave their fancy gym shoes at home.