Monday, January 13, 2014

O is for Outdoor Time

Nothing like weeks on end of snow and rain and below freezing temperatures, to make us appreciate, and
long for, weather that is conducive to outdoor time! And that's what the past month or so had been for us.

Finally, this week, we've been able to get outside again BUT all the melted snow, plus pouring rain much of the day Saturday, has turned our yard into a marsh and while that wouldn't bother me in warm weather, cold mud isn't a great idea in my book . . .

So, as I stood at the kitchen window, washing dishes late Saturday afternoon, looking out at the creek rushing by (normally the water level isn't high enough for me to see from the kitchen window) and water standing over much of the back yard, I commented to Ashlyn (drying dishes beside me), that I really wanted the kids to be able to actually go OUTSIDE during morning play time, but the mud was going to be an issue. so I suggested the she and Lexie put their heads together and come up with an obstacle course for the younger kids (their younger sister, Little Bit, and our neighbors, E & J, who join us for school most mornings). They loved that idea and when introduced to it, the little kids love it too! In fact, this morning, when we discovered that the ground was frozen enough to not be muddy, yet, the kids asked if they could do obstacle courses again anyway :) I love it because it gets them all truly MOVING, more so than playing on the swings or something, and without the inevitable bickering over whichever swing is deemed "best" that day, or who should get to ride where on the bikes, or who's turn it is to throw the basketball if they are shooting baskets. . . the big girls like being able to organize something, and the little kids must be enjoying it if they asked for it again :)

So that's our current outside time solution (without pictures because, quite frankly, I was thrilled to have that bit of time in my morning to hang laundry and wash dishes and such while the kids were all getting wiggles out and not getting into things).

Other things we do regularly (when weather-appropriate) during outside time include:

  • sandbox time
  • the swingset
  • The slackline
  • wading in the creek
  • Riding bikes and scooters
  • Basketball in various forms
  • Reading in the gazebo
  • Gardening
  • Blowing bubbles
  • Sidewalk chalk
  • Bringing our easel out to the porch to paint

And while I'm writing about outside time, I thought I'd go ahead and share links to other outside time ideas (both summer and winter ideas), as well as ways to get wiggles out when the weather doesn't cooperate:

Winter ideas:
Snowman mailbox
Decorative Ice Gems
For the TRULY ambitious: make an igloo
Snowman Birdfeeder
Creative snowmen
Ways to Enjoy Frigid Weather

Summer ideas:
Soda bottle sprinkler
Water play
Frozen Popsicle Chalk

Anytime ideas:
Outdoor music ideas
Outdoor table with stump stools
Homemade Sidewalk Paint
Balloon Ping Pong (indoor or outdoor)
Pool Noodle Racetrack (indoor or outdoor)
Toy Car Racetrack
Nature Weaving
Make a tent from a hoola-hoop and sheets
Outdoor animal world
Outdoor Scrabble
Rainbow Bubble Snakes
Scavenger Hunts
A Home Daycare's Outdoor Playspace
Themed Walks

When You Can't Go Out:
Paint the windows with soap
Indoor Snowball Toss
Hallway "Lasers"
Newspaper "hut"
Giant Board Games
Just Add Masking Tape

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