The half mile between our house and the fort is very walkable with nice sidewalks the entire route. While the older girls were still in school, I occasionally walked Anne over to the fort in her little red wagon and she would play in the grass at the fort with its many hills and huge trees to hide behind. After our numerous games hide-and-seek, we would walk to the fort walls with its many cannons and fun wooden bridges connecting the various walls.
Yesterday, I walked all three girls to the fort for the first time. "Walk" isn't quite the word. Meg and Clare rode their scooters. Anne opted for her tricycle. The tricycle has a handle that allows me to push her when she gets tired of pedaling, so we can use it for longer walks. Though to give her credit, she's very good on that little tricycle and often I'm using the handle to slow her down rather than to push her.
Once we were at the fort, Meg began taking advantage of the hills to really ride her scooter. She has become very adventurous on her scooter. She tackles steeper and steeper hills and amazingly always remains on her feet--even as I'm imagining every possible disaster that could happen. I've always lacked coordination, so I'm amazed to see it in my own daughters. Moreover, Meg has long had balance issues due to migraines, but watching her fly down the hills, I'm convinced she has overcome those issues. Clare, who usually excels in anything requiring coordination and athleticism, is clearly just a little bit behind Meg developmentally. She isn't quite as steady as Meg on her scooter or bike, but I have no doubt in six months she'll have the same control. That being said, she didn't have the same control at Fort Ward. When she followed Meg down a hill, she wiped out terribly. Luckily, she was not injured seriously. She was just a little sore, frustrated and nervous about getting back on the scooter.
We all took a break at the amphitheater at the fort. Not surprisingly, the girls put on dance shows and mini-plays. Clare read Barnyard Dance and convinced her sisters to act out the words. "Stomp your feet. Clap your hands. Everybody ready for a barnyard dance."
When we finally made it to the actual fort part of Fort Ward, the girls were interested in how the landscape itself created the fort. Walls were built into the slopes of the hills, which created protection as well as an excellent sight line for the cannons. The girls enjoyed being able to get so close to cannons and really seeing what they are like. I attempted to do a demonstration of how to fire a cannon, though I had doubts myself that I was doing it correctly. It was interesting to us that there were various sizes of cannons at the fort. We were also fascinated by the ammunition storage built like cellars into the hillside.
I'm glad to say Clare's scooter confidence returned for our walk back home. The path home is relatively flat. She was cautious, but overcame her initial apprehensions. We are hoping to return to Fort Ward for a picnic in the near future.