I am convinced that one of the greatest tools and gifts in parenting is nature.
I am not by personality an “outdoorsy gal”. However, I quickly learned in the newborn season with my first, that if I simply walked outside, the screams (from both of us) would magically melt away. There seems to be a sacred recipe in the fresh air and sunlight that makes big things seem small and His presence seem near.
You see, God is really good at supplying what we need. I’m not against all the toys and programs, but I will say, just about everything you need, as far as child development , can happen outside.
All in one place: outside.
And I get it. I am an AC-loving-homebody myself. Before kids I was only outside if it was walking from one place to another. But now, I get outside because the benefits outweigh my love of comfort. And even if I don’t love it, I reframe it so it seems like I do. Because what I model is what my children replicate.
“Ugh, is so hot. I’m going to die out here.” vs
“What a beautiful tree! Look how God made those branches so strong. God also made you strong. This looks like a good spot to have a shade break. Let’s drink some water it’s pretty hot today.“
From a faith perspective, nature is a way we get to know the character of God. By noting the grandness of the sky or the intricate details of a blade of grass, we learn about our Creator. I have the BEST theology lessons with my children while we are outside.
And yes, I hear you. With outside play comes ant bites, sweaty bodies, dor tin the mouth and a slew of not pleasant things. Thats just part of the package. That’s why they say “outdoors makes tough kids”. Even 10 min is so good for their little bodies.
With the Texas summer heat we usually follow :
8am- 10am outside free play
10am - Inside snack and blanket time (our “Bible and book learning” as a reset.
10:30-12:00 Back outside if the weather is manageable.
Then after lunch and rest time, unless it’s water play of sorts, we camp out inside until dusk when those temperatures get close to 100 degrees.
So here’s some ideas and motivation!
- Morning stroller ride
- Outdoor picnic breakfast
- Basket Collecting (aka tell them to put cool things they find in a basket)
- Book blanket
- Sport practice
- Pea Gravel rocks and some construction toys (I’m personally a gravel fan over sand)
And on and on.
Maybe it’s just my family, but when we have days that start with some sunshine, the whole day is in a better flow. Tantrums are lessened, naps and night sleep are better, and the indoor play we do have is much more creative.
So here’s your encouragement to start the day with some fresh air.
Sunny Days Ahead,
***Dont forget…the Cirkles are cheering you on!