Day 325. I cannot believe we have been at this greening journey now for 325 days. No, there isn't anything special about that number, it just struck me while I was typing it that 325 is A LOT of days. In the life of a 16 month old and a three year old that is A LOT of days. We have gotten outside I would say probably 320 of those 325 days. There were a few bitterly cold days and a few very stormy days that we didn't get outside. Which now looking back is a big bummer, it would have been awesome at the end of the year to say that we went out EVERYDAY. Oh well, maybe that will be the goal for the NEXT 365 days.
Anyway, I have been thinking a lot about outdoor play lately. I really think that getting kids outside, no matter what the setting, HAS to be the first step to connecting kids with nature. Get them away from the computer, the TV, the video games and Ipods. Get them outside in the fresh air, running and playing. Then, once they are more comfortable with just being outside they might be more willing to try bigger adventures or be more curious about some of the natural things that they are seeing outside.
So, today instead of trying to guide Sam and Avery's outdoor play time I just went along with them. We played on the swings, drew with sidewalk chalk, picked dandelions, dug in the mud, watered the garden (and a lot of other areas too!), watched Chris cut the grass, and watched the clouds. We had a great time and burned lots of energy. The learning comes, the connecting to nature happens naturally and the teachable moments pop up when I least expect it; but none of that would have happened if we first weren't playing outside!
It is not always easy to think of what to do outside, especially if you don't have a lot of outdoor space. Wanted to help out with that this week and maybe inspire you to spend MORE of your week with your little ones outside.
Blogs are a great place to start. Here is a list of 10 AWESOME bloggers that have lots of outdoor play ideas.
Just remembering the great oldies-but-goodies can be a great place to start. This is a great list of lots of those old favorites and maybe a few you haven't tried before.
And if you need ideas for ways to spruce up your outdoor play areas check out this great inspiration page at Child Central Station.
If you do get out this week and try out some fun outdoor play ideas with your little ones be sure to stop back by and let me know. You can join the Outdoor Play Link up on Friday or check out the first couple of weeks for more ideas! Check here and here for lots of great ideas.
The Nitty Gritty!
Two more great resources that I just HAD to share.
If you have a birthday party for your little one coming up it would be great to consider doing some outdoor games or activities. Check out this list of 10 ideas from Disney.
Interested in the philosophy behind outdoor play, research being done about the benefits or studies about things like obesity, risk in play, playground design, nature preschools and more? Check out the resources page at ActiveKidsClub.com. I could spend DAYS going through and reading all of this stuff.