October 2018 Kid’s Halloween Hayride-Philosophy Walk (“What is it Like to Be a Bat?”)

We had a marvelous time on our annual Halloween Hayride-Philosophy Walk for kids!   And this year we were granted fantastic weather by Mother Nature, despite the fact that the day prior had warned of possible showers and wind.  Nothing like a little good ol’ fashioned Halloween tomfoolery to keep us on our collective toes!

Led by our fearless guest storytellers and activity gurus for the day, Martin Richard (the bat) & Michael Chapman (the nature paparrazzo), as well as Marisa (the dinosaur), our awesomely-adorned group of adventurers headed off for a fun-filled day of stories, crazy thought experiments, and nature exploration.  And, of course…a hayride, hot apple cider, and baked goodies!  Speaking of preparation….here are some quick “getting ready for the big day” photos.

What We Explored on Our Hayride-Philosophy Walk

Inspired by philosopher Thomas Nagel’s famous “What Is It Like to Be a Bat?” (and Halloween, of course), this year we explored the world through the eyes of four different creatures:  a bat, a dinosaur, a bird, and an octopus!   Some of thing things we did to assist us in these endeavors, included:

  • The 6-senses challenge
  • Fun with echolocation
  • Dino walking & an egg hunt
  • Bird gliders & feathers
  • Tentacles & an octopus dive
  • Stories, fun factoids, queries, and more…

Speaking of fun factoids.…one of our favorites (as well as a fav among the kids and adults)….did you know that octopuses walk on the ocean floor?  It’s true!  Not only is it hilarious (and adorable to watch), walking serves a very functional purpose for the octopus. How so?  When an octopus swims, the heart that pumps blood to its organs stops beating (also cool…an octopus has 3 hearts!), so crawling is a more efficient, less exhausting alternative.  Here is what it looks like (prepare to have your day brightened!). Octopuses (not ‘octopi’ — much to our dismay) are the coolest!

What does everything we’ve done today have to do with Thomas Nagel’s “What Is it Like to Be a Bat?”

What is a bat really good at? Hearing, right? How about us humans? Is our hearing as good as a bats? What are we really good at? Humans are really good at thinking! Our brains (and the way they are structured and have evolved) make up for our somewhat “less than stellar” senses.  Our senses aren’t perfect (in fact, philosophers have forever talked about why we should not trust our senses – “things are not always they appear to be”)… but they’re really important first-level input for our thinking. By exploring what its like to be a bat (and dinosaur, bird, and octopus), we are helping to expand our awareness about our own senses and our critical thinking skills. 

This leads to another important lesson that can be extrapolated from Nagel’s bat. Even if we can’t truly BE a bat or another person, by taking the time to look at the world through the eyes of another, we are helping to cultivate and nurture a deeper sense of understanding and compassion. We are broadening our ethics (like Aldo Leopold would say) to include not just humans but also the land and animals and plants that live upon it. And by becoming more compassionate, we’re also able to connect with others and ourselves.  — Marisa (the dinosaur), Martin (the bat) & Michael (the nature paparazzo).

Check out pictures from our October 2018 Kid’s Halloween Hayride-Philosophy Walk below!

Thank you so much to all of the kids (and adults) who helped to make our day so much fun!

Special thank you’s to our guest storyteller & activity gurus, Martin Richard (aka The Bat) & Michael Chapman (aka Miguel the Nature Paparazzo) and to our Hayride Wagon Driver Extraordinaire, Donovan Rugg (aka Dondolf the Wizard).  Thank you also to Marie Z. Bourgeois for donating her beautifully harvested apples to our cider making frenzy!

Thank you to P.L.A.T.O. for helping us provide these activities to the Helena community and to the Helena Exchange Club for your generous grant that allowed us to secure such fun goodie bag gifts, hay, treats and other items that helped make this walk a success!

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