Barefoot babes

Shoes are good for kids, right?  Wrong!  Here’s why you should take their shoes off today!

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I remember when my first born started walking.  I was so worried about doing everything right… you know, as everyone does with their first child!  So we got him the best shoes we could find.  With arch support and padding of course.  We strapped them on, and our previously very mobile toddler, could barely walk a step without falling.  When he stopped falling, he looked like those puppies that have boots on.  What was going on?

We did not know then, what we know now.  Shoes have no benefit for small children, other than protecting them from injury.  For example, stepping on glass.

Shoes can actually weaken the muscles of your child’s foot, and damage their structure.

Children that do not wear shoes, have been shown to have better arches, and stronger feet.

Going barefoot, also allows your child to gather sensory data from their feet.  They would not be able to feel the grass, moisture from the soil, or temperature with shoes on.

They also are less able to develop their gross motor skills, because wearing shoes alters their natural balance.

What do we do now for shoes?

Our smallest kids wear Robeez as long as possible, when they aren’t able to be barefoot.  For my oldest, we just started buying Vivo Barefoot shoes and we are in love!  The shoes are very cool looking, which was a major concern for my oldest.  He reports they are his most comfortable shoes ever.  They have been good for playing sports, when shoes are necessary.  The shoes are also very minimal.  (In case you’re wondering, I have no sponsorship deal with either company mentioned in this post).

Do yourself and your little one a favour today, go outside without shoes!

 

Much of the information is from one of my all time favourite books, Balanced and Barefoot Angela J. Hanscom.

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Raising a Wild Child

Do you aspire to raise kids that LOVE the outdoors?  Here’s a beginner’s guide:

20180507_130947-COLLAGE.jpgFind a few spots in your week that you can fit in some outdoor time.   Two times that work well for us are, right after lunch, but before nap time; or right after school.  If we go after school, I  make sure dinner is in the slow cooker, so I avoid cranky hungry monsters.

Find one outdoor place, that is easy to get to, and good for hanging out.  I would aim for a natural area, that has interesting features, like trees, rocks, sticks, long grasses or a creek.  When starting out, you’ll probably want to bring your kids to one spot and migrate every 15 to 30 minutes to a different spot.  This can mean moving 10 feet further down the trail.  This provides variety for kids that aren’t quite comfortable making up their own games yet.  Eventually when kids are used to playing in nature, you’ll be able to settle in one spot for much longer periods… but you may still enjoy variety.

Dress yourself and kids appropriately to enjoy yourself.  Bring along extra clothes and layers, especially for your kids 6 and under.

We have a “go bag” that stays in our garage that carries supplies that we want when going to the forest.  This will vary for ages, experience level and interests, but things we have in our bag: a magnifying glass, shovels, hand rake, small saw, rope, whittling knife, wipes and band aids.  We don’t have one, but a map and compass would be a great addition.

“I’m BOOoooOOred”… If this is happening, you may need to get your kids started in an activity, like helping them build a small fairy house, or dig for worms.  However, back off as soon as they are into an activity.  By playing independently, they are learning to use their imagination, and directing their own learning.  It also gives you an opportunity to observe your children, and let their games and questions direct what topics you could learn about next.

Find a way to enjoy yourself outdoors.  Bring a book, garden, watch the birds, read my blog for more ideas… (you know I had to!)

The last point is important:  They are going to be messy!!  Be prepared.  Things that help, are a large boot mat, change of clothes ready, cloth to wipe hands, and PATIENCE!

Yes, it would be easier to just let your child veg out and become a couch potato…  but you’d be missing out on the magic of raising a Wild Child!

 

Treasures in the forest

Our area had a big wind storm last weekend.  Many neighbours lost trees.  Many homes were damaged.  We were safe, but parts of our roof came off!

This morning, my littlest ones and I went for a stroll to check on the safety of our favourite trees.  The kids were worried that the squirrels homes and birds nest would be destroyed.

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Luckily, beyond a few broken branches, the kids were very happy to see all the squirrels and birds seemed to be in good shape.

While we were checking the forest though, we found our first Trilliums this season.  If you aren’t from Ontario, you may not know that Trilliums are a very big deal here.  It is actually illegal to pick one!

So I tried to grab a quick picture of the kids by the flowers.  But with all the excitement over the flowers, I was nervous the toddler might grab it…  He didn’t!  Phew.

A night in jail would not be the ideal way to spend this spring day for this lady.  I would love to hear about your spring treasures!

 

Cold Rainy days for the outdoorsy

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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.

Kids at the creek equals resilience

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.

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Caleb decides he wants to build a big boat.  He collects logs and sticks, and plans his project.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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You too will be amazed at what nature can teach little ones.