Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Beautiful Day Out There

One of the "perks" of living in central Texas are days like this - 64 degrees in January?  I'll take it!  The kids were driving me bonkers this morning - their usual mode of "play" inside usually involves someone being chased all over the house with Mom being "home base".

I finally decided to throw them both outside when they had stepped on my foot for the hundredth time while knocking whatever I was carrying out of my hands.  At the time, I didn't realize how nice it was outside - I was prepared to shuffle them out in snowsuits if I had to - but delightfully, God gave us a beautiful day here!  The next 2 hours were spent outside.  We even ate lunch outside.

Benefits of an outdoor lunch:

1. No mess to clean up
2. No dirt tracked in for lunch after playing outside
3. Kids will sit still and eat just because they have their own special picnic bench that is their size.  They love it.
4. If a carrot should fall on the porch and Corbin picks it up and continues to eat it, I just look away and pretend I didn't see it.  He's already managed to sample sand, leaves and mud within the last 2 hours - a little porch dirt isn't going to make a dent at this point.

Really, you should try it!  I love doing lunch outside.  And you don't have to have a fancy picnic bench to do it.  Previously, they used a cute little kid's table set I got off Craig's List for $10 bucks.  There are plenty of deals out there if you just keep your browser open for a few days scoping them out.  I actually have to NOT look because I'm always finding ridiculous deals for things that we don't really need, but are just so cool!

In fact, I outfitted our entire backyard off of Craig's List.  Now we've got a great place for them to play and explore, and it really didn't cost much at all.  Originally, I had researched playscapes but the price and difficulty of assembling them was just too much.  So, instead, I found really neat toys to throw outside that I didn't mind getting water and sun damaged.  I paid about $5 a piece for most of their ride on toys or sand table.  Throw in some $1 beach toys from Target and the Dollar store with a few packages of army men and you're set.  At least for my boys anyway.

And no, they don't originally want to spend hours outside.  Especially if they haven't spent a lot of time outside previously.  You kind of have to work up to it and show them how to play - because playing outside is different than playing inside.  Eventually, they'll be making up their own games and play, but I think you kind of need to start them somewhere or they'll get bored quick.

I also have a lot of random things out there that they've had a blast with.  Bricks, pieces of wood, pots, buckets, small shovels - you name it!  Today Hayden took some mesh shelving and some bricks to make his own ramps/roads for his car.  It was amazing to see what he was building out there.  Corbin used my little shovel to pour water and sand from one pot to another in his own little game.  I think the best toys I have out there are the ones that weren't originally meant to be toys!

Seems like they are always inventing, building, and discovering out there!

What kind of outdoor activities do you do in your backyard? And this goes for adults too!  We've got a rocking yard for the kids right now, but we could use some ideas for us "Big Kids" too.


Robyn said...

No real suggestions, but Evan also loves to play outside by himself and is rarely interested in coming back in. He digs in the dirt, picks weeds, drives his outside trucks, builds roads for them, etc. Some days I watch and it looks like he's just sitting in the same corner of the backyard examining all of the plants, bugs, dirt, rocks, etc. Always makes me smile!

Julie said...

How wonderful! I hope you enjoyed it enough for all of us up here in rainy Oregon. Oh what I wouldn't give for a day like that, but I'm afraid I'm so out of practice come mid-January, that I wouldn't know what to do with it. Sad.