It’s been a while since my last blog post. That is because it’s been school holidays, and all structure goes out the window during school holidays… and I just had nine days offline. It was nice to have a break from the screen.
So it’s been two weeks with the five year old. We’ve been doing a bit of travel, visiting art galleries and bookshops, going to live music and plays, and running some kid’s workshops at the local art centre, bike riding, walks on the beach, and lots of nature play. We went to a local screening of http://projectwildthing.com/, which is about getting kids back to nature instead of being glued to screens. It’s narrated by a father who decides to become the marketing director for nature, and he creates a marketing campaign using billboards, apps, social networking, brochures for new parents, games and challenges, and an online network to support kids and parents to get back to nature.
It was an interesting movie. I felt sad that techonology has taken over our lives so much that we now have to use it to remind ourselves to connect to the actual world. Nature should be intrinsic to all our lives, every day. Dirt is good for your immune system. Fresh air is good for your brain. Uneven ground is good for your sense of balance. Wilderness is good for your soul.
My child has plenty of dirt, sun and water in his life, but it’s always good to have that validated. I want to encourage you to get outside too. So here are five of our favourite nature play activities.
1. Go to the beach and make sandcastles. The beach is a giant sandpit. Excellent for keeping small children entertained for hours. If you don’t live near the beach, tip some water into the sandpit or make mud cities in the backyard.
2. Build fairy houses using only natural materials. Find a shady spot under some trees, scout around for building materials, and construct tiny dwellings and gardens. You could use sticks, bark, flowers, leaves, rocks, seed pods, grass clippings, nuts, etc. Tie things together with grass or plaited grasses, poke holes into leaves, weave leaves and sticks together, poke sticks into the ground, lean bark and leaves against a stick framework, or just lay flowers and rocks on the ground in patterns.
3. Roll down a grassy slope. Or sit on a piece of cardboard and use it like a toboggan.
4. Build a fire. Children (and adults) are drawn to fires. Even toddlers can collect firewood and learn how to stay a safe distance from the flames. Stay close to small children, or any children who don’t have experience being around fires. Eating outside by a fire is fun, even if you bring the food out from the kitchen. Or try toasting apples or slices of bread, or eggs in a pan. We collect sticks from the firebreak around our property, which needs clearing anyway.
5. Lie down and find cloud shapes in the sky. Nothing needed for this one. Nature is rolling an endlessly changing display over our heads. Just look up.
I could think of loads more things to do outside with kids without money, but that will do for now. I’ve got a pile of half-written posts to follow this one, so there’s more coming!
What do you like doing outside for fun?