The weather is beautiful right now where we live! Fall is my second favorite time of the year with Spring coming in just ahead of it. Honestly, I just love being outside most anytime of the year!
Have you ever noticed that children love to be outside too? When my children were little, even before they were walking, they would pull themselves up to our back glass door and bang on it saying over and over again, “outside, outside!” Now my grandchildren do the same thing! It was and still is a happy place for all of our family.
Our happy place came to mean so much more to us during this unusual summer! Most of us spent the spring and summer inside our homes while travel took a backseat. It definitely hasn’t been a “normal” summer but the few places that we have felt some normalcy during this time have always been outside. We made it a priority to head over to the beach several times and up to the mountains for day trips so that we could enjoy the healing power of nature. While we did get a little traveling in, we actually spent most of our time like you I’m sure, at home, in our yards or at our nearby park, just hanging out.
Even if getting into nature means just being out in our own yards for right now, it is enough for young children. Somehow being outside can bring grounding and peace. Maria Montessori believed that children needed to be outside, in the garden and connecting with nature whenever possible.
“It is also necessary for his physical life to place the soul of the child in contact with creation, in order that he may lay up for himself treasure from the directly educating forces of living nature.”
– Maria Montessori
Here is a list of things that you can do at any given point of the day depending on your circumstances in order to make sure your child is having “contact with creation” allowing his/her character continued joy and proper development.
- Take a nature walk! Let your toddler and children pick up rocks, leaves, twigs and sticks. Talk about their treasures.
- Plant or work in a garden or even just plant one new plant that your child can watch grow in a pot.
- Have a picnic outside under a tree.
- Lay on your backs in the grass and look up at the sky…..play the silence game and just listen to see what you can hear.
- Look for insects in your flower beds.
- Go backyard birdwatching. Use our free Backyard Bird Watching page to help you keep track of what you see.
- Create a fairy garden.
- Collect leaves. You can sort them into colors with your child or just enjoy the collection process.
- Dig in the dirt.
- Make a Mud Kitchen.
- Look for rocks and stones in your yard.
- Pick flowers and trim bushes.
- Harvest your vegetable garden or start preparing for a winter garden.
- Prepare and eat simple meals outside.
- Set up shelf work outside and allow your child to do his work among the grass and trees.
- Set up a tent and turn it into a reading area.
There are so many outdoor adventures that I’m sure you could add to this list, and there are so many different ways to enjoy the great outdoors, but the most important thing to remember is to give your child time to explore nature as often as you can! This week we are going to our local farmer’s market with the kids and then eating breakfast at the park. We’re trying to soak up all the warmth before winter sets in! Let us know in the comments below what your favorite outside adventure with your kids is!