Usually it doesn’t take much to get kids enjoying the outdoors. However this week, it took a little incentive to get them out on a really cold day, in the rain…
However, a puddle, a hockey stick and some bubbles kept everyone busy as bees until they found a real project. Which was of course, splashing in the biggest puddle and getting really really really muddy!
After a big romp in the rain (but mostly mud), we all snuggled up by the fireplace and enjoyed hot chocolate.
Cold wet socks, pants and wet mittens, plus a project that takes much more work than expected, plus convincing your 3 year old sister to help you; Equals resilience, patience and conflict resolution skills by the end of a day at the creek.
Caleb decides he wants to build a big boat. He collects logs and sticks, and plans his project.
Caleb begins putting together his boat, weaving smaller sticks through the larger logs. The pieces keep floating away. He keeps getting soakers (water filling his boots).
He notices his sister, (also known as “his extra set of hands”) climbing up and down the logs and tree roots.
Instead of getting frustrated and giving up, he practices his communication and negotiates to get her to come down and help him build the boat.
He explains what he needs her to do. They work together, and in exchange he offers her the first ride on the boat.
As you may have guessed, this resulted in Belle taking the earliest creek swim this year!
You too will be amazed at what nature can teach little ones.
Let my three year old climb trees and rocks?? Without holding my hand?
It can be scary as a mother watching your 3 year old scramble up cliffsides, running along trails, climb trees or big rock formations. However, I try to trust my children as much as possible, and encourage them to assess the challenge vs. their skill level.
I will often ask them, “are you sure?” Or “is that branch/rock steady enough?”. Sometimes I may even say, “what will happen if you step here?” To teach them to analyze the risks.
Allowing them the chance to scale new surfaces will improve their gross motor skills, also their confidence in themselves and their ability to reason whether something is or is not a good idea.
As moms, as much as we may wish to, we will not always be there to make decisions for our children. We may be afraid to let them make decisions because of a perceived risk. Instead of saying no, we should instead help our child learn to be safer while climbing. We must prepare them to do think of these things independently.
Yes, this does extend much further than a discussion about tree climbing.
I believe we must mother from a place of trust and not fear. We need to provide children with opportunities to grow in their judgement in a relatively safe context, so they can practice making decisions independently.
The decisions our children make will get much more complex as they get older. So let’s start them on the way, by letting them decide what they will and won’t climb while out hiking.
Throwing your kids in the mud to make them smarter?
Forget sensory bins. They only provide input to your child’s hands. They will make a mess. Your kids may play for 5 minutes and get bored. They can be time consuming and expensive to put together. (Angela J. Hanscom)
Try a full immersion sensory experience instead!
At the end of a rainy day, we hiked over to a mountain biking trail. There is a 10 foot drop for bikers. Because it was rainy, it was deserted.
We turned it into a mudslide!
The kids had a blast throwing themselves down the muddy hill. Making mud pies. Rolling down the hill. We lost some boots. Kids used every ounce of their energy going up and down this hill.
We returned home with about an extra 30 lbs of extra mud on each kid.