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!

 

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If you give my mouse his cookie…

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He will ask for Books! Books! Books! We love books! ….and cookies. And if you can combine them, around here, that’s a winner.  We’ve been reading If you give a mouse a cookie, and my little guy just loves it.  He now references the book in his every day play, “if you give me a peanut butter sandwich, I might ask for some jam… and if you give me some jam.  I might ask for some chocolate”.  (because in his mind, everything leads to chocolate).  If you aren’t familiar with the book, a mouse asks for milk, which leads to asking for a cookie, which leads to a mirror, which leads to a haircut, and on and on.

I know I’ve already mentioned our love for Sonlight’s preschool program. But I must say it one more time. How many programs include baking and eating cookies as part of the curriculum??  Cookies are not the only benefit we’ve been seeing.  Even though Caleb can’t read yet, you’ll often find him snuggling in a corner with a book and his little sister has been copying him.  She carries around books she likes, and will ask us to read at every opportunity.

Elise has also recently decided she doesn’t want to miss out on story time, and instead of wandering off to play with other toys, she’ll get up on the couch to hear the stories.  We’ve started reading her some of the simpler stories from the beginning of Caleb’s curriculum, like Goodnight moon, which she almost knows by heart.

 

Easy fall craft

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Have 5 minutes?  Grab some white, green, brown and red construction paper.  You’ll need some glue sticks and scissors.  If your kids are 3 and under, cut out “tree” shapes, think green clouds.  Next cut out tree trunks, and apples.  Fill your coffee cup, and put babies down for a nap.  Give the kids glue sticks, and enjoy the looooong quiet time.

…. You’re welcome!

Preschool? We love it!

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We are having so much fun here, I thought I should share….

I know I’m not the only perfectionist mom out there, but here it goes… when I found out I was having a boy, (my first baby), my first thought was, what if he doesn’t learn to read well?

Since before he was born, I’ve been strategizing how I would get this boy to love books as much as I do.  I’m happy to report that he is officially a book worm at 3!  He doesn’t know how to read yet, but he’ll happily sit for hours and listen to stories.  This is mind blowing if you knew this boy.

We have always read to him when he went to bed at night, and when he was about 18 months I started to read out loud while he played for an hour or two a day.  This mostly felt like I was reading to myself…

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But, when he turned 3, we considered many different options for school, including a formal preschool, a homeschool program or doing nothing.  Well, of course “nothing” wasn’t going to fly in this house!  A formal program seemed like a lot of shuttling him back and forth, and I wasn’t excited about managing the other little people that would need to come along.

So we ordered Sonlight Preschool, and we are officially loving it!!  We did try another preschool program and found it was way too intense, with lots of workbooks and hours of activities that needed to be done each day…. great for some, but definitely not for us.

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The Sonlight preschool package is just a whole mess of books and a list of the order you should read them in.  There are a few activities to do, but we’ve gotten lots of ideas from thin air or pinterest.

I love that the books can be passed down to each child as they turn 3, although Elise has already picked a book that she loves about babies, and now wants to hear the same stories each night.

This might not be for every family, but we love the time that we share just little man and I, snuggled on the couch, reading about all kinds of adventures.  Our favourite stories from the collection right now are “The Story of Little Babaji” and “Horton Hatches the Egg“.  Both teach great life lessons, and have great new vocabulary words.

Although we have decided to send the kids to school for kindergarten, I might sneak in Sonlight’s kindergarten program, because the books are just so good!

In case you’re wondering, I am not affiliated with Sonlight in any way, I’m just a really happy mom!