Let's Go Outdoors
During the pandemic and even prior, many parents have struggled to discover creative ways to motivate outdoor play. Whether it be on recreational equipment in the back yard or picking daisies from the green grasses, or tossing balls into the air, or enjoying a cookout with family, children are happier beings when outside in God’s creation.
A glimpse of a child’s schedule during each week reminds us that a big part of the best life, sharing outdoor time, needs to also be written into that already busy schedule. From music to dance, to piano, to art, to basketball, all outstanding activities, but mostly inside, motivates us to think beyond the usual events of the week.
Perhaps some of the following on a small scale could help as a beginning:
1. When weather permits have a little quickie breakfast outdoors on a picnic table.
2. Some days pack a picnic lunch or supper and find a safe park or outdoor space to enjoy.
3. Have afternoon snacks outside rather than at the television set.
4. Set up paint areas or craft areas outside for creative times.
5. Ready for a story time. Hop out of the recliner or off the sofa and head for the front porch or side yard with a quilt on the ground!
6. Plan at least two games outside in the quiet of the evening for the family.
7. Enjoy outdoor sitting areas for just encouraging sharing the day’s activities.
8. Watch the clouds go by while lying on your back in the yard.
9. For the spiritual minded, find Scriptures about God’s creation and hide them outside for a scavenger hunt and memory time and prizes
10. Biking, hiking, walking together and pointing out nature interests as you share together.
11. Make your own list of enjoyable things to share with your family in the out of doors. Then, make it happen!
Many years ago an article by Katherine Bouma appeared in the Orlando Sentinel, entitled The Outdoors is Great for Kids. Perhaps you will find new things to do and new reminders of the importance of the world beyond the front door after reading her article.
A counselor at camp came to ask, during a camping week if a child could take a stick he found home with him. Since he was riding the bus that seemed not to be wise, until it was realized that this same child had asked “what is this?”” What is what?” asked the counselor. Holding up the item in his hand, he said “This.” Oh, smiled the counselor, as she stooped to admire the long stick held tightly in his hand. That is a stick.” “We don’t have anything like that at our house, he exclaimed, with such enthusiasm.. “May I take it home?” The joy of discovery at summer camp can also be part of the joy of discovery at home if planned and implemented.
“What do you like the most at camp?” the counselor asked her group at the end of an adventuresome day. “The mosquitoes”, a camper quickly answered “because we don’t have any of those at home!”
Stepping outside at home teaches us much about the bugs, bees, lizards, and critters, mosquitoes, and sticks” as well as the wonderful nature exploration at camp, that parents also provide for their children.
A few campers’ quotes about nature:
“I saw a giant fish so I decided to go after it. Then I realized it wasn’t a fish, it was a turtle! So it was really heavy, so I went Uh…Uh…Uh.”
“I caught a fish as big as a dog’s leg.”
“ You can’t resist a wildflower just sitting there.”
“ I saw a butterfly on our train ride through the woods.”
“I saw two turtles with orange spots on our train ride around the pond.”
“ We saw many things in our homes in the woods. Some insects, praying mantis, ants, and lizards and I even saw a slug.”
“ If Jesus didn’t make water, we could just live off of candy and brownies. I’d eat brownies all the time.”