Spending time outside with little ones as a student mom

Why should we spend time with our kids outdoors? Is it important?

……..The answer is simply, YES! It is so important to get out in fresh air and experience life outside of the four walls in our homes! Fresh air is crucial to the wellbeing, mental and emotional states of children (and adults but I’ll focus on kids 😉 It enhances mood and heck we all know kids can be pretty moody! I know it can be hard if you don’t live in a rural area with access to parks, woods, trails, etc. but I’m here to tell you there ARE ways you can get outside and have fun with your kids even in an urban or city-type setting! You don’t NEED the woods to explore the outdoors! I live in a rural town just outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. There have been times that we have driven through the city and my kids are so mesmerized by the tall buildings and hustle and bustle. We always play I SPY from the car and they point out the taxis, the shiny metal bridges, the blue water from the river. 

I SPY is the perfect outdoor game for those looking to spend time with their kids outside doing something fun! Did you guys know kids LOVE hunting for things? Like, they’re obsessed with it. I created these super cute I SPY cards (10) JUST FOR YOU that you can print out and put in your purse to take with you.

How to set the scene for a fun day:

  1. Tell your child you have a special activity planned for them today! Get them EXCITED by saying ooooh this is a special game that only the BEST finders can play. Are you a realllllly good finder? Do you know the game I SPY? We’re going to play that today on a walk! 
  2. Tell them where you are going to walk to (so in the neighborhood, by the pier, downtown, etc) and ask them to brainstorm some things they might see on the walk. 
  3. You’re ready for the walk! Gear up with your sunscreen, sunglasses and hat and get out there! I always let my kids pick the first card (I hold it up like a hand of cards and have them pick one). Do this just as you are walking out the door. 
  4. Once they’ve found the first card, grab another one out of your purse and repeat. 
  5. You can reward with ice cream or another special treat once they’ve done all 10 cards! 

This simple game is such a great way to connect with your child doing something you don’t normally do with them outside. I know a lot of us just rush from place to place and activity to activity but right now while the world is a lot slower due to COVID is a great time to take in the beauty around us outdoors. Buildings, grass, skyscrapers, bridges, boats, beaches, trees are ALL beautiful things we can SPY outside! 

I have another 20 I SPY cards in my freebie library if you would like to have the full set! A great reason to take more walks 😉 

If playing I Spy is not your thing…

I would love to encourage you to bring the outdoors IN! People tend to dismiss the important of house plants or small gardens. Having a houseplant or small garden on a patio or balcony can teach children responsibility and about nature all from the comfort of your home. It makes for great conversations about what plants need to survive, why can this plant live inside but others can’t, what type of plant is it?, etc. We have many houseplants and my kids (3.5&4.5) are so intrigued by the differences in them and which ones grow faster than others, etc. It has taught them so much about growing things that I may need to add a few more 😉  Giving kids responsibility from an early age is so so important. 

1. THEY LOVE IT.

I have never met a kid who didn’t want to do everything I’m doing. That includes sweeping, dusting, cleaning windows, etc. HAHA! Honestly, GIVE THEM THE JOB OF WATERING THE PLANT. EASY! 

2. THEY NEED TO BE IN CHARGE OF SOMETHING.

This will help you in other areas of parenting. “Hey Johnny, remember cooking dinner is Mommy’s job, your job is to water the plants… did you remember to water your plants today?” 

My kids know they are in charge of feeding the dog and the fish. If they don’t, they know they will die and that’s on them  (I mean I wouldn’t let them die but you get my drift… hehe). 

3. Plants provide HAPPINESS.

It’s true, read the research. Plants make people happy. Nature makes people happy. Get out there or bring it in! Find a way to incorporate it into your daily life. It’s important and your kids will thank you for it later. I promise 😉 

Hope to see you over at www.theafternoonconnection.com