Being outdoors surrounded by nature is one of my happiest places to be. Before being a mom, you could find me taking a peaceful walk, reading a book or magazine on the front porch or boat or taking a rest in the hammock. Relaxing and taking in the nature around me came hand in hand. My little one loves being outside with me, but watching me read a chick lit or doing anything that resembles taking a nap (my tricks no longer fool her!) is most oftentimes out of the question.
I love being outdoors with my family.
Here are just a few of the ways we love, appreciate, and interact with nature:
Have a picnic. Sometimes we do this by spreading out the blanket and packing our food in a basket or cooler. And sometimes to make lunch sound more like a party, we just take our plate of food outside to the table and call it a picnic. Most times we eat a meal but a snack and some books to read or color is also a fun type picnic. No matter the type of picnic, it always gets a thumbs up!
Plant something! Kids love to plant and watch things grow. (And OK sometimes die. That ending is not as cheerful.) Tilling the soil, digging the hole, planting the seed, tree, bulb or flower, watering, spotting that first sprout, picking and enjoying the fruit or floral arrangement. Vegetable gardens, fruit trees, flowers in a bed or pot, or grass hair in a cup.
The options are endless here and sometimes your frugal, pack rat ways can even come in handy. When my little one was a baby, I made a large portion of her baby food. Butternut and acorn squash were quite pricey. I kept the seeds and came across them while cleaning out my junk drawer earlier this spring. The next day ( before I threw them away…normally these things happen the day after, right?!), my little one wanted to plant something. I handed over the old seeds quite proud I had something to offer and this little gal got to work and was busy. I’ll admit, I never dreamed the seeds would sprout, but today we have an entire bed of butternut and acorn squash plants. And one proud gardener.
It’s also fun to decorate and embellish those gardens. Make stepping stones, paint rocks, craft wind chimes, or create a magical fairy garden. Use your creativity and use supplies from nature. Gathering the supplies is part of the fun. (Disclaimer: Crafting acorn-head fairies is addicting. Don’t say I did not warn you!)
Explore the birds of the sky and the creepy crawly bugs of the earth. A good bug barn is a must have! A simple bird feeder or bird bath is fun to watch. And if your kids love projects like mine, here is another opportunity to craft a feeder (and clean out the old cereal in your pantry.) I love multitasking!
Take a hike. Kids love to collect so bring along a sack or nature journal. Nature scavenger hunts are also fun. Exploring by water is another great option. You know it’s a fun activity when you get to be a pirate or hunt for bears and monsters.
Play in the dirt. Make mud pies, dirt roads, and castles.
Play in the rain and muddy puddles. Who doesn’t want to be like Peppa?
Let nature inspire you to enjoy the beauties of the earth with your kids. You might just get lucky and wear them out for that nap and have time to catch up on your chick lit…or at least an episode of Peppa Pig!