By Becky Will
One thing I noticed early on in my parenting journey is that the more I was outside with my kid, engaged in screen-free, hands-on learning, the more regulated & happy we both were and the LESS I had to clean up my house!
I consider outside play a WIN-WIN and it continues to be a constant theme in my parenting to this day.
When my eye-ball starts twitching because of being overstimulated, I know I need to grab the coats because we need to get outside ASAP!
I realized the first summer with my kid as an itty bitty toddler just how beneficial being outside was not just for my kid, but how much I needed fresh air, grass, sun, snow, puddles, mud, birds chirping & bugs! There is just so much to explore and learn right in your backyard.
It’s free, traveling isn’t necessary and you can go down so many rabbit holes of exploration.
Here in Massachusetts, we are on the cusp of spring and those 40+ degree days are happening more and more. We’ve had a few of those glorious days in March and when we do, we put on our big boots and get out there to explore!
New to exploring the outdoors with your kiddo?
Our eldest has been enrolled in a nature school for 3 years and our family is a BIG fan of Bogs, Columbia rain gear, and Tuffo Mud Suits! All of these can also be found on local parenting yard sale Facebook groups and sometimes you can find really great discounts!
So enough about gear, some of my family’s favorite spring mud season activities have included:
● Making mud pies! I bought my son a good, sturdy metal shovel and gave him a bunch of old kitchen ware, a bucket of water and let him go to town.
● Get construction vehicles and pretend you’re building! You can use sticks, stones, bricks, etc. Get those trucks in there and do some awesome pretend play. What can you build?!
● BUG HUNTS! This has NEVER gotten old for my son and without a doubt, it had to be an activity in my newest tote, The Spring Tote!
This past month, my son lit up when I mentioned a bug hunt. He flew to the backyard and rolled over some logs we have by our fire pit. Lo and behold we found worms, ants, millipedes, earwigs and his personal favorite, THE ROLY POLY!
Afterwards, we went down a YouTube rabbit hole about roly poly bugs because he had questions that I could not answer (thank you interwebs!). We came upon this channel with Ranger Zak and we learned SO many cool facts! I know that bugs can wig people out, I totally get it! You can use tools with your child such as bug catchers, spoons, buckets, magnifying glasses, etc so you don’t have to actually touch them AND your child still gets to observe from a distance! You can count the legs, look for antennae, wings, identify parts of its body, etc. You can watch how it moves and talk about what it may eat, where does it live, etc.
THIS NEXT PART IS REALLY IMPORTANT!
After you are sufficiently muddy and done hunting for the day, be sure to place your bug friends back where you found them! This is an important skill to teach your child too; to respect even the smallest of creatures!
Leave a comment below and let us know how it went! What did you find?!
Looking for a spring Teaching Tote? Your specialists here have you covered:
Becky’s Spring Tote (Haverhill, MA)
Shannon’s Springtime Tote (Wrentham, MA)
Marisa’s Spring Tote (Hooksett, NH)
Jocelyn’s Simply Spring Tote (Monroe County, NY)
Kelly’s Backyard Bugs Tote (Oakland County, MI)
Ali’s Spring Backyard Bugs Tote (Seacoast MA & NH)
Jennifer's On the Farm Tote (Naperville, IL)