Last weekend I had a conversation with a friend about how important outdoor play is for children (she is former daycare director so she knows what’s up). It is crucial. We live in Western Washington and that means that we are no strangers to rain…but that doesn’t mean you should stay inside. In fact, if you watch kids outside- they never seem concerned about getting wet or muddy; they love it and they deserve to play outside. We got to talking about how important being outside is for us too (seriously, I need it). I feel so much better after a walk or playing in our yard. Caleb loves it too. He runs and runs and then when we come in the house it doesn’t take long for him to pass out.and he usually sleeps really well. That is definitely the biggest benefit- trust me.
I’ve been reading The Happiest Toddler on the Block, much like I said I would here and it stresses the importance of outdoor play for children. It makes sense, too. When I first got Caleb into the Child Development Center on my campus they told me to make sure he had no less than three changes of clothes because they go outside and they play. She also told me “if your son loves playing in the mud- we’ll let him”. And they weren’t kidding. Caleb comes home filthy and he loves it. In fact, they told me he sits in the sand box and lets the other kids pour sand on him- and he likes it. That’s my boy.
On our non-daycare days, I usually try to take Caleb to the park. We walk for a mile and then swing and then I let him run around. And run he does. Sometimes if Manfriend is nearby (if he’s off work or running errands) he will surprise us at the park and Caleb really loves that. But it doesn’t last long because Caleb is usually more interested in the other kids playing than us. He usually waves at them from the swing but lately he’s decided that running over to them is more fun. (Which is actually frightening because it is usually a group of 6 year olds who are trying to kill one another on a merry-go-round).
I remember a few months ago one of my friends called me and she asked where I was. When I told her I was walking around the mall because we needed out of the house she commended me for taking Caleb places every day. I didn’t realize it was something people didn’t do. How can people with children not take them places? We get to see new things (like the mushrooms below AND I get to rock my sweet new rainboots).
So get outside already. Enjoy the weather- who cares if it is wet or soggy or blustery, you will have fun and it will revive you. Promise.
(If you are interested in this hat I made for Caleb, you can find the pattern here.)