Nature play for well grounded children
In those moments of over stimulation or if you are tempted for screen time, honestly this can replace screen time so easily and also is a beautiful way of bringing calm when you can see them spiral into the depths of tantrum-ville. I know because I've done it. At the very beginning of mumma-hood i didn't see much harm in watching a little TV, we haven't done that since Z was almost 2. So 2 years of learning so many more amazing ways to keep busy babes occupied. Screen time is for a whole other blog post, but for now i wanted to share one simple step to take into living more consciously with your family.
Head outside and off on an adventure with a basket to collect things from nature in your garden or if you don't have a garden, go for a walk nearby your home. The collection part is of course not important, but that gives the kids a mission to be excited about. This is such a good way to learn not only about your surrounds but also about what you come across, which animals live in that tree? How come these leaves are yellow and not green anymore? This is a treat for the sensations, touching different textures, slippery rocks, furry leaves, soft petals. Smelling the scents in the garden and in the air. Listening to the surrounds, birds singing, whatever you have going on around you, stopping to listen and tread carefully for a moment, its almost like practicing a meditation for kids, and yourself! I feel so utterly happy when I spend time with Zephyr doing this, it has to be my favourite thing to do with him. Its amazing how kids are just so curious and they notice everything!! As adults, we may breeze our eyes over the ladybird on a leaf flapping her wings, but they are bound to notice and be amazed, and something like that truly is incredible to watch especially for such small and fresh young eyes. Its such a beautiful way to teach them to respect nature and also even just how to carefully pick the right flowers, herbs, berries ect. It gives them confidence in their surrounds, they know what is where and it sparks an interest in being outside more, wanting to go back and check on things that they may have noticed earlier, maybe to check if that snail is still on the path or if they can find a butterfly. There is so much goodness that comes out of adventuring outside in search of something to collect and use. I cant get the necessity of this activity across enough. On the ‘adventures’ when you bring a basket of things home, i like to honour that these items have been selected by the kids as worthy of holding a place in my home, yikes I know that chunk of dried mud isn’t exactly what you’d been dreaming of for the mantle piece, but create some craft or adding them to a nature table is wonderful. Even if they live outside in a special spot, this will encourage the kids to be more happy to go on collection adventures again.
I personally love to be close by to Zephyr as this is an activity with intention to share with each other, yet once he is immersed and interested, i really make a point of trying not to distract his attention too much by constantly showing him things, pointing at things ect.. It's so nice to see his own imagination and thoughts just wander and then ask me questions about something or proudly show me something, or maybe we will find something togother that he can keep safe for us. I think if we give them some quiet space (and by that i don't mean scrolling through your phone while they are gazing at the flowers) I mean, letting them have their own time, with knowing we are being peaceful yet inquisitive togother. Sure, i also might race him home afterwards, or do some summersaults with him, it doesn't all have to be peaceful, laugher is the best, but he's had those special focused moments to engage with his surroundings and really feel it! After all, as adults we need a bit of peace and tranquility sometimes don't we!
Although this blog post is based on the most simple idea, i hope by reading this it inspires you to place more emphasis on these moments & know that life can be pretty simple for children, and above all, nature is life ~ so get to know it.
So now, when kids are crazy, go and enjoy some outside frolicking.