Ahhh...the weather in my neck of the woods is simply marvelous. It is a great time to be outdoors. I can't get enough of the sunshine, the warm breeze, and moderate temperatures. The weather is so beautiful that it makes getting outside to play irresistible.
So instead of posting this week about our play with toys, bikes, or paints--I would like to devote this blog entry to the lost art of just getting outside and PLAYING!
Do you remember what it was like to be a child? Did you have a favorite tree to climb? Can you remember finding a secret place in the woods that seemed to belong only to you? Did you once gather "treasures" from outside (shells, rocks, leaves, flowers) and take them home to cherish? Do you remember what it is like to skip a stone on the water? Or search for the perfect stick or pine-cone?
I have noticed that many children today don't get to enjoy the simple pleasure of getting outside to play. They are in school for a good portion of the day. They then go off to various scheduled practices and activities. And what precious little down time they do have left in the day is spent playing video games, watching TV, or surfing online.
If we don't make it a priority to go outside and play, then it is easy to pass over all of those simple joys of childhood.
We had two recent adventures in nature. Our first was a nature walk to Inniswoods Metro Park.
|The kids spent a lot of time on their walk gathering and observing things from nature. Things that had special importance to them.|
|Marcus searches for a chipmunk in the woods|
|Here Marcus finds an acorn and stops to take a closer look.|
|Sophia finds a special leaf. She notices that this leaf has "bite" marks on it.|
|We noticed that there were "seeds" in the center of this flower. Later we saw some goldfinches snacking on these seeds.|
|We saw some HUGE tadpoles swimming in the water|
|The kids had fun climbing on this stump...|
|...and then jumping off.|
|Later, we enjoyed the shade of a tall maple tree.|
Our second adventure was spent at Highbanks Metro park in their new "Natural Play Area." The natural play areas were created to give all kids in central Ohio the chance to interact with nature in a more unstructured and direct way. Kids can go off trail, splash in streams, dig in the dirt, and climb trees.
We spent to the majority of our time in the water. (Kids are naturally drawn to water!)
|Sophia had no hesitation about going in the water. She jumped in and began to explore.|
|Marcus was a bit hesitant at first and decided to explore the water from the edge at first.|
|Sophia's own version of spear fishing. She attempts to poke a minnow.|
|She stayed busy with the stick for awhile.|
|I thought that she was going a little "Lord of the Flies" on me for awhile!|
|Until her "spear" broke. :(|
|Marcus finally decided to join his sister in the water.|
|A very pretty dragonfly.|
Here is my list of recommended reading and resources:
Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock
Make an investment and go purchase this book. This really is a book that you will be glad to own. I know the title sounds boring, but I promise you it is not. This book is so fun to read. I love to have it on hand to look things up.)
Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv
The Little Hands Nature Book by Nancy Castaldo
Handbook of Nature Study Blog - A blog devoted to getting out and experiencing nature! I love reading this blog and plan to start participating in her weekly outdoor challenges. I consider this our challenge number 1. :)
Childhood 101 - This blog hosts a weekly blog carnival called "We Play" It has many, many great ideas about playing outside on it.