How to Make a Simple Walk Less Boring - For Kids
I love getting outside. I love getting kids outside even more. Something about fresh air and open space gets the kids energy up, and out. Unless it is absolutely freezing or sweltering I try to get outside for a little bit everyday. I recently watched a young girl for a few afternoons, we spent a good many of those walking around her neighborhood finding interesting things to touch and play with. I'll describe the ways we experienced nature and you can do whatever of them you wish!
One of the first interesting objects we found was a seeding dandelion. I helped her blow the seeds off and watched her stare as they blew away. It was wonderful to see the brightness of her eyes as she watched them drift down the street.
Later on we found a patch of rocks. We spent the better part of an hour playing with them. Picking them up, dropping them. We shook and threw them and we drew in them using sticks. I would pick up a pile of them in my hands and let her swipe them back onto the ground. We went back the next day to do the same. She enjoyed it so much we stayed for a full hour then. On the way home we discovered a set of stairs that we climbed up and down for a good ten minutes. Little lady seemed a little concerned about doing them herself but after a while she was so confident she was practically running up and down the step. I love watching little ones gain confidence in themselves!
We were beginning to get tired of walking home when we found a lovely tree that she plowed through like a person on a mission. It seemed she was an adventurer in the jungle. The last stop on our way home was a puddle. Puddles are the best part of any walk. Stomping, jumping, running and so many other great gross motor movements. I never mind drying out the shoes and socks afterwards, I find the giggles and smiles well worth it! Not to mention I enjoy getting in with them. Seeing who can create the biggest splash, feeling mud and water between my toes can usually help rid me of most stress.
The next day, on our walk, I encouraged Little Lady to touch everything. The soft moss growing on the ground and trees, flower petals, leaves, smooth rocks and the rough bark on the trees. I do this with most toddlers. It teaches them to take a moment out to enjoy the natural world around them. Whether through touch, sight or sound. I like to encourage a love of the environment. I have found that if you take time out to enjoy it, the little ones will too. This gives them a great foundation to build that love on.
Our final day together we walked in the opposite direction we had all week. I am so glad we did! We found this wonderful little tree growing out of a fence of all things! We found it by accident as I was helping her balance on the fence. It was a curious thing and she was so very gentle when she caressed the few leaves that were growing. When the fence ended we picked up some sticks and dragged them across the fences. I commented on the sound of the different sticks on the wooden fences. Allowing us few extra moments on the fences, whacking them to see what sound they would make.
As adults we sometimes forget that we need to spend time outside. But not just outside, actually noticing what is out there. By encouraging the younger generation to spend time noticing these things we train ourselves to do it as well. This post is more about the ways that I encourage children to experience the world around them. Simple things that we can all do for the children in our lives. I'd rather leave a few moments early on a walk somewhere so they have that time, or take them for a walk later on so they can do these wonderful things unhurried. The next time you are out walking take time and allow your little ones to touch, climb and experience the world around them. I promise, it'll be worth it!