I feel like it’s been forever since I’ve posted a blog! I’ve missed it. Something big has happened in our home since I was last on my site…my daughters helped me babysit a friend’s little girl who is just one day older than my little guy who is now about 13 months old. She came over and was walking/running all over the place. She’s a complete doll. Coleman was not walking yet that day. You could say he was toddling around, maybe taking a few steps here and there, who needs to walk when you have two big sisters to do everything for you? But then he woke up the next morning and apparently he realized something. If she can walk…why can’t I? So our days have been a bit overwhelming with homeschool, cooking, cleaning, extra curricular activities, volunteer activities, gearing up for the race we coordinate sprinkled with saving Coleman from climbing up the stairs, unlocking our baby gate, opening the doors, sticking things into the electrical sockets, throwing toys into the toilets, poking the dogs eyes, falling off the treadmill, and too much more to list! Man…I have never been at home full time with a one year old and it is EXHAUSTING!
Anyway…that was not the point of this post. The point of this post is the gorgeous weather that has made its appearance that is the happiness of my year! I absolutely LOVE spring, summer, fall. We won’t mention the other season of the year since it is so very far away at the moment. I love that since I’m able to be home with my children all day we have no excuse not to get out each day, and it is a huge help in combatting the stress of being a busy mommy during this season of my life! Please don’t confuse overwhelming as negative when I use it in reference to my children. I love homeschooling and being home with my babies! Training for the half marathon a few years ago was overwhelming but completely rewarding, as I was working towards an awesome goal, same thing here 😉
A few weeks ago our entire family spent the day outside and it was fantastic. One of the best days ever. We even took our dogs with us and I’m sure they would agree it was pretty fantastic. A friend of ours let us go hiking in his woods and let the doggies go for a swim. Watching my kids walk around and explore is one of my favorite things to do. I love seeing how their different personalities observe and what they each notice. One of them is completely detail oriented while the other takes in the whole picture and just wants to see as much as she can. Then we’ve got this little guy who is just excited to be out of his car seat!
Our family does this often during the warm weather months. We are really blessed to have friends that own property and they let us go on adventures to spend the day wandering through it! My husband and I would love to own some of our own one day. I think it would be awesome to be able to homeschool in the country. The conversations that come about on these days are the best. Mom, how do you make a fire? What’s that in the pond? Dad, why do all the ducks stay together? My kids just think their daddy knows everything there is to know about the wilderness and he pretty much does. It’s really cool to watch them follow him around in the woods and ask him all sorts of questions. Some of the things my little ladies learned this day that were nowhere to be found on a lesson plan were:
- Streams lead to the river
- How to identify poison ivy
- How to stack firewood for a fire
- That toadstools were in super Mario brothers (VERY important )
- What ducks can and can’t eat
- Some items that float and sink in water
- Identifying different animal tracks
- The woods look very different in the spring than in the fall, less leaves on the ground, the grass is bright green, buds are on the trees
- Identifying types of fish
- Teamwork to cross streams or get through thickets
As I was writing this post I was looking up some of the benefits of outdoor play for children. When I taught first grade and kindergarten, I literally always had a print out of these in my desk just in case I was ever questioned for taking the kids out for recess or for allowing them to have free time. Allowing for movement is so important for little minds. Just in case you need a little justification to get outdoors here it is. I promise you will never find as many benefits for watching TV on your couch.
Benefits of getting outdoors for your children and yourself!
- Vitamin D: So many people take Vitamin D supplements when they could simply get this naturally from the sunlight. I have actually taken this in the winter and I do notice a difference. But when the sunshine is there use it! Vitamin D protects from bone diseases, diabetes and heart disease.
- Stress reduction: You know you need this. Just getting outdoors for a few minutes helps reduce stress. What’s sad is that there are so many studies showing that the busy lives parents lead really are affecting the stress levels of our children. If we are going to take them along with us during our busy schedules the least we can do is take responsibility for their health and be sure to give them some time to de-stress. De-stress and children just doesn’t seem like it should be in the same sentence does it?
- Collaborate: Do you remember playing outside as a child? Building sandcastles, working with your friends to make mud pies, playing a game of baseball in the backyard? These are the settings where kids naturally learn to problem solve. We shouldn’t have to teach them how to do this they learn through play. This is why so many pre schools are play based. When children play appropriately, they are amazing problem solvers.
- Increases attention span: Some studies have shown that children who spend more time in nature are able to focus longer and can spend time in self directed play for a longer amount of time. They can spend more time observing and assessing situations.
- Sensory stimulation: It would make sense that children who play outside more often have more experience using their 5 senses than those who don’t. They are hearing birds chirping, feeling different textures, beings exposed to different scents, and are seeing so much more than the same rooms and walls each day. Because of this they are more aware than other children when it comes to noticing differences in these areas.
For us, this is all awesome, but honestly, we just enjoy it. We all like to be outside and we love spending time together. The old saying holds true, the family that plays together, stays together. And we haven’t ever spent a day outside and wished we would have spent it sitting on the couch, it just doesn’t work that way in our home. If it’s nice out today in your area and you have a house to clean or cooking to do, just take 20 minutes and get out there! You’ll be glad you did and your kids will be too!
Some info from :