I love being outside. Am I the full-blown outdoorsy type? Not exactly. I prefer to camp in a motorhome rather than a tent, but I still love hiking the same trails as the tent campers. My husband has the same affection as myself for the great outdoors. So it came as no surprise to me when our toddler started showing interest in wanting to be outside more than in.
Our usual summer days begin with me drinking a cup of coffee on our back deck while my son plays in his sandbox, at precisely 6:23 AM. However, the winter months in NW Ohio are less than inviting, and since having a baby this past September I have been highly lacking in our usual outdoor activity.
Snowy Day Play Day
On a snowy day not so very long ago, I was nursing the baby when my toddler asked if he could go outside and build a snowman. I told him it was too cold and I could not go outside with him because I was feeding the baby. He gave me his disappointed “Awww” and plopped down on his knees. It was at that moment I realized I was in fact discouraging something I feel few kids want to do nowadays.
My son wanted to go outside and build a snowman a simple act people generations before us had enjoyed. He was not asking to use a tablet, watch YouTube on my phone, or space out during a rerun of some Nick Jr. show. My son wanted to go outside to play in the snow, and I had just told him no.
Change in Our Routine
I decided the “no” to playing outside stopped there. I dressed him in the proper winter attire (we have it after all) and sent him outside. For thirty-five minutes, he threw snowballs for the dog to catch, brushed snow on the deck with a broom, and dug in snowdrifts with a toy excavator. He came in rosy-cheeked and smiling and proceeded to talk about the “construction site” he had built in a snowdrift while we ate our lunch.
If I am honest, I personally have always felt better after being outside. Even a twenty-minute walk with my dogs refreshes me. On the stressful or boring days there is no better therapy than grooming my horses. I find I require less media after spending time outdoors and feel ready to begin mundane tasks. Why would it be any different for my toddler? Not only are we in a season that limits us to repetitive activities, but he is still transitioning to his new life as a big brother.
Let them Play Outside
Every day since asking to build a snowman, my son has played outside. He has asked for less TV time and I feel good about him getting fresh air and exercise during these winter months. Some days my baby and I bundle up and get in on the action as well. We walk around the yard, play with the dogs, and look for birds in the trees. I leave my phone behind and find a sort of peace knowing my children and I are partaking in activities others before us enjoyed as well. Outdoor time does not have to be, and should not be, seasonal. Break up the monotony of the day and let them play outside!