With spring right around the corner and the spring-like weather already showing up here in South Carolina, we have been getting outside more and more. Yesterday, as I sat there watching Ellie play in the mud after a rain shower, a smile came to my face. This is what kids are supposed to do. They are supposed to play outside, to get dirty, to use their imaginations, to enjoy the simple pleasures of nature, and to get fresh air and sunshine. Kids aren’t supposed to be glued to a TV, iPad, or phone screen. Technology can rob our kids of their childhood if we as parents don’t manage it correctly. Kids need to use their imaginations, and when we don’t allow them to do that we are hindering their creativity. Playing outdoors is also beneficial to our children’s overall health. They need to run, play, and get exercise. They need exposure to sunlight, which supplies their bodies with Vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones and teeth, a healthy immune system, a healthy nervous system, and brain development. Let your kids get outdoors often.
The things that stick with a child the most as they grow are their experiences. As parents, lets get intentional with creating fun, beneficial experiences and memories for our children. Below is a list of classic, old-fashioned activities that kids can do outdoors. I did all of these things as a kid and I still remember them vividly. They were fun, inexpensive, joy-filled activities.
Old-Fashioned Outdoor Activities:
Making mud pies. Ellie and I were just doing this yesterday. She had so much fun decorating the mud pies with rocks and flowers. Yes she got dirty, but she loved every minute of it.
Splashing in puddles. It is almost impossible to pull my child away from a good mud puddle. I remember loving rainy days as a kid, because my mama would always let us go splash and play in the puddles after it quit raining. I suggest investing in a good pair of rain boots for your kids. Our favorites are Hunter Boots. We have the toddler ones for Ellie. They are easy for her to walk in and are lightweight enough that they aren’t falling off her feet.
Catching lightning bugs. Nothing beats this classic past time. All you need is a mason jar.
Making a dandelion wish. Ellie gets so excited every time she sees a dandelion. And says: “make a wish.” She is only two, so I don’t even think she knows exactly what a wish is but she loves it anyways.
Searching for a 4 leaf clover. When I was little, I would sit in a patch of clover for what seemed like hours (probably only 10 minutes), and search for a four leaf clover. The few times that I found one, you would have thought that I had hit the lottery.
Going on a picnic. By far one of my favorite things to do is go on a picnic. I have several vivid memories of family picnics. Those were some of the best times of my childhood.
Finding shapes in the clouds. Spread out a blanket on the grass. Look up at the sky and see what shapes you can find.
Going fishing. I was lucky enough to grow up with a pond in my backyard. My brother and I would spend every summer fishing and catching minnows, tadpoles, and frogs. We recently took Ellie fishing for the first time. It was such a special moment for me helping her catch her first fish at the same place I caught my first fish.
Growing a garden. Whether it is a flower garden or vegetable garden, gardening is a fun learning activity for kids. Last summer Ellie and I started a vegetable garden. It was a learning experience for both of us. It definitely got us outdoors more. Teaching your kids about planting, cultivating, and harvesting their own food is such a valuable life lesson.
Picking blackberries. Or any produce for that matter. I have so many fond memories of picking blackberries on our family farm every summer. We would also go pick blueberries and strawberries at U-pick farms. It doesn’t matter if you have a family farm or not, there are so many U-pick farms where you can take your kids.
Climbing a tree. In the South, the best trees for climbing are Magnolia trees. My brother and I would spend hours climbing trees when we were younger. I hope to plant a few Magnolia trees at our future home site for Ellie and our future kiddos.
I hope these ideas gave you some inspiration and motivation to get your kids outside and make some memories that will last for years to come. Leave me a comment with some of your favorite outdoor memories from when you were a kid. I would love to hear them!