In honor of Earth Week, let's take a look at some great ways to unplug and get outdoors with the little ones!
- Eat Outside. This has become a new favorite activity for my toddler as she finds it is exciting to eat outside on our porch. I also find that for some reason she eats even better than usual when we eat outside. It's nice in the summer evenings to enjoy nature and get out for some fresh air.
- Go for walks. We go for a walk at least once a day, sometimes more. She loves strolling in her wagon or stroller and taking in the scenery around her. She'll point to birds, chickens and airplanes and shows excitement over each and every one of these. Often times we end up visiting the chickens down our street which leads to picking flowers and learning about the animals (and that we can't feed them the flowers we pick).
- Incorporate learning. Lately I've been working on incorporating her colors with our walks and playtime outside. Asking simple questions such as "what color is the grass" and so on, can stimulate learning and curiosity for her. Asking "how many flowers do you have" or "what does the bird say" shows her that learning can be fun and happen any time.
- Create a safe zone. I'm fortunate that we now have a porch that we can gate off the steps and let Little Bug play safely as much as she wants. While not everyone can have the ideal setup, it helps to create a zone for your child and to teach them the boundaries of where to play outside. Start early with keeping them from playing near the roads unattended and from disappearing (easier said than done).
- Involve water. As a southern mama, I know just how much heat sucks. It gets so hot here and most of the times we just want to stay locked up indoors with the A/C. Try and incorporate as much water play as you can, whether it is with a splash table, a small pool, a sprinkler or a trip to the local splash park. Water takes outside play to a whole new level! And it's a plus if mama gets involved and can cool off too!
- Visit the nurseries and farmers market. These can be easy trips that allow you to take care of business such as buying groceries, but also allows you to get out of the house and get outdoors for bit.
- Make scavenger hunts and make crafts. This is an easy activity to do with your little one depending on their age of course. Make it easy scavenger hunts and with simple pictures. Give them a basket and go out searching for your fun items! You can also take activities like coloring and painting outside for a change of scenery (and for easier cleanup).
- Plant something. I can't say I'm huge at doing this as I have no green thumb and no space for flower beds or gardens (we currently rent), but this is always on my mind. While I don't necessarily need 1,000 plants, a few would be nice and I can't wait to involve my girls with it. Especially a garden -- talk about a learning experience for everyone!
- Invest in a good sunscreen and bug spray. We can't let the fear of sun burns and bug bites keep us from enjoying outside. Invest in a good, non toxic sunscreen and bug spray to safely protect your family. Wear hats and always keep water on hand! Find some sunscreen and bug spray in our shop.
- Visit the Park. While at the moment it sounds like a hassle to load the kids up and pack the bags, park days are fun and help tire down little ones. Hellloooo nap time!
I love that getting us outdoors means unplugging from everything, enjoying nature and learning about the environment around us. It is so much more relaxing to do some front porch sittin' instead of running around like crazy indoors. Enjoy nature and teach your children all about it...no matter how outdoorsy you are (or are not)...they deserve it!
What do you do with your little ones outside?