If you have been reading my blog over the years you know that outdoor activities are a big priority in our home. Doing outdoor activities stimulates learning but also provides much needed balance for our family. The outdoor environment is ripe with positive developmental opportunities for children not just with academic learning but also with emotional and social well being. This post includes ideas on how to motivate yourself to do outdoor activities with kids!
So, how do you do it? How do you get outside even on the toughest of days?
Steps to Creating Outdoor Activities for Kids that Don't Make You Want to Pull Your Hair Out
Before we had children, my husband and I took walks after meals. My favorite time to walk is after dinner. There is something about having a meal then taking in fresh air to digest and come down for a good night's sleep. I am striving to do the same for my family. One time of day I want to immediately smell the fresh air is in the morning, right after breakfast, or to take breakfast outside. Creating habits will make outdoor activities with kids feel more organic, a natural part to your day.
Find a Canopy
A tree canopy is the best way to fight rain and heat. We live on several areas of what is essentially rainforest. So, on the hottest of summer days where the heat beats down unbearably, escaping to the woods is a cooling option. No rainforest canopy nearby? That is quite all right! Sometimes all you need is a tree or two of shade for relief. Finding the right space for outdoor activities is a big deal. Creating the environment to have fun and be comfortable is key.
We have a 60 quart storage container in our car equipped with sunscreen, change of clothes, plastic bags for wet clothing, extra socks, snacks, first aid kit, rain jackets, towels, and whatever else we might need for the spontaneous outdoor adventure.
Wear Proper Clothing
I have written about this point in previous posts. I live in the Pacific Northwest. My three sons were all born here. My four year old has actually demanded me to “turn the sun off”. Yup. My point is that there is no such thing as “bad weather” only “bad clothing”. I know, cliche, but rings so much truth. Having the proper gear makes a huge difference. Rain pants to avoid the uncomfortable wetness? Sign me up. Rain boots high enough to scamper through the deepest of puddles? You betchya! Extra socks. An effective rain jacket? A warm fleece? Three cheers. Let me know if you want brand suggestions. I am all over this one.
Have a Loose Plan
In other words, be ready for anything. My boys often complain about getting on the trail. I often have to pull out the “sorry, guys, I don't speak whine.” Sometimes as a parent you have to trust that you're doing the right things for your family and that someday they will appreciate it (even if they don't have the words to express it). In most instances, my sons begin discovering and devouring along the way once we're out in “it”…the boulder led to the grass led to the big drift wood led to the geese led to the lake led to the trees led to the peregrine falcon…until they didn't want to leave. Sometimes mamas and dads do know best.
Keep at it, friends. Get outside!
If you want more activities that take Montessori Learning Outside, check out my eBook series!