PLAYING WITH NATURE
With only one month left of summer, I’m assessing whether or not we have taken full advantage of Minnesota summer at our house. We have done lots of swimming and biking. We eat as many meals as possible outdoors. And we interact with neighbors as we are out working on our lawns and playing with the children. That part I find especially fascinating as toddlers to teenagers to adults play games and mingle in front yards. It is such a relaxed and special time.
But during our hours inside we tend to gravitate to the same activities we do throughout the year. We play board games, do a little coloring, read stories, chat about our days and do household chores. Hey, why couldn’t we fold laundry on the patio instead of on the living room couch? And the spot for reading stories could move under a tree or on lawn chairs.
My goal for August is to bring the inside out. We started the other night when our grandson wanted to play Candyland after dinner. My husband said, “Let’s take it outside and play on the patio table.” What fun it was to enjoy the incredible weather while playing a favorite family game. After we finished, we stayed outside to play “I Spy with my Little Eye.” It was a whole different experience than playing the same game inside.
We then went over to one of our birch trees and examined what the Japanese Beetles are up to. We found a couple of toads hopping across the lawn. We picked a few weeds. It was a great evening outdoors.
During August I want to do some projects with materials from nature. We will collect items from around our neighborhood and sort them into categories. I read about a fun activity where you wrap tape around a child’s wrist with the tape inside out to create a sticky bracelet. Children can stick small treasures to their bracelets as they explore and then sort, play and do crafts with them later.