Guest post by Jenny Wykes
It’s springtime, the sun is shining and you’re just about to leave the house when your toddler shouts, “I need a wee!” even though you’ve just tried everything imaginable to get them to go to the toilet before squeezing them into their waterproof overalls.
As parents, we have good intentions to get our children outside in the fresh air to go on adventures, but sometimes leaving the house can be the tricky part. And once you’ve packed the entire contents of your kitchen and eventually left the house, your little one can still have wardrobe disasters!
But it’s always worth it. Being outside has so many benefits, not only for our children but for us too. Getting some fresh air and light exercise in a green, open space can be a great stress-reliever. It certainly beats staying inside and saying “Don’t do that!” for the hundredth time!
Getting out of the house gives us a chance to breathe, and you’ll instantly see the joy on your child’s face. It’s a great place to let their imagination run wild! Didn’t you know that the stick you can see poking out of the ground is actually a magic wand that belongs to fairies? And the big tree in the park is home to a huge dragon! Little ones see things we don’t, and it’s inspiring to hear their stories. Letting them explore the outside is so beneficial, it not only allows them to use their senses by touching, smelling and feeling lots of textures, but also allows them to go wild and run free.
Some of our best days have been spent outside, but not without a mishap or two. My daughter particularly likes getting extra muddy and dirty on the days when I’ve forgotten everything – especially wet wipes! And where should a toddler with dirty hands wish to clean them? My pink coat, of course. You can almost see the enjoyment on their faces, like they’re secretly thinking, “Take that, you unorganised Mumma!” Either way, arriving at your destination is a huge win, even if your child is only interested in picking up the pebbles off the floor and seeing what they taste like, or being pushed on the same swing for more than half an hour.
ACTIVITY IDEA: SCAVENGER HUNTS
When I was a child, my friend’s mum would often organise scavenger hunts, and we all loved the challenge. I’ve introduced them to my daughter too, and they’re a big hit – with the added benefit that they’re fun AND educational. You can search for and collect anything you want! A smooth pebble, a green leaf, a blossom, a feather, a brown twig, a yellow flower… it’s all treasure.
My daughter and I have taken items home before and popped them in water, then frozen them. On a warm day in the garden, we then got them back out of the freezer and watched the ice melt. On one occasion, I gave my daughter a toy hammer and watched her smash away the ice. She found it fascinating and loved rediscovering her treasures.
Being in the great outdoors is lots of fun for both parents and little ones, so get those wellies on and get outside!
Jenny Wykes is a blogger and mum of two and shares her toddler friendly adventures no matter how cold or how muddy. For more details on her parenting journey please visit www.theoutdoorsmum.com