The Carnival of Play continues over at PhD in Parenting - have you written your post about play yet? Now let's take the play outside...
My children are really enjoying the great outdoors. Finally, spring really has arrived! Let me just say, my boys are ecstatic with this nice weather! Especially my oldest son Christos. The snow has finally melted, and the built-in sandbox in the backyard has revealed itself again. We were able to open the shed doors in the backyard to see all the summer toys just waiting to be played with.
His favourite is his real ride-on CAT excavater that he got for his birthday last year. He is a very determined (and cute!) little constuction worker. He talks to himself as he digs, and asks, under his breath, "...now what project should I do? I know! Put in these hot water pipes..." and he digs, digs, digs... sometimes his baby brother, Dimitry, will play with him. And sometimes he will do the 'wrong' thing. So Christos will say: : "You're fired!" No problem for the little one, as he will move on to something else... like mowing the lawn with his little lawn mower. Or playing with trucks in our other sandbox.
Yesterday, Christos walked to the mailbox with his dad, only to see that he got mail! His very own 'excavator' lisence! It has my son's name on it, the year, the 'licence' number, and his picture as well as a picture of his excavator. He wore this around his neck all day and all night, showing it off proudly to anyone who saw him. (Yes, my husband did make this very real looking licence for my son, and yes, he did put it in the mailbox to surprise him. )
PhD in Parenting mentions the book "Last Child in the Woods" in her recent post; this books talks about how children are spending less time outdoors then they used to, and how this is having a negative effect on them - causing attention deficit disorder and depression, among other things. Children do need sunlight and fresh air and free movement. I'm so glad that my children love being outside so much. (Really, which child doesn't prefer playing outside?) Remember the first time you exposed your children's feet to the feeling of grass? And how precious their expressions were? Or having them walk through sand, or see the beach, and look up each time a bird flies by? And how about hearing their laughter when you push them on a swing? What is better then that, I ask? These moments in nature just do not happen indoors!
I love to spend time outside with my children. I love going to the park again! Swinging again! I mean, seriously, when you're in your 30's, you just can't justify swining at the park unless you have children. (Or are looking after someone's children). Building sandcastles, going on nature walks. So much fun! It really makes you feel good, and I have noticed it even makes you want to eat more healthy. This year, we are going to plant a small vegetable garden in our backyard, because Christos loves to garden. Luckily, his grandmother is a great gardener, and they do this together at her house every day in the summertime.
And of course... the greatest outdoor sport - swimming! I can't wait to swim with them... luckily, they both love being in the water, too.
And it is so true, that after a day of playing outside, they do go to sleep better at night. They are exhausted from natural play, and they fall asleep much easier Less fussiness, less waking up. Just rosy cheeks on happy children.