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With the warmer temps beginning this week I am looking forward to getting outside! However, it can be a challenge to get my kids outside. Once they are outside they will play, but I typically have to set the stage for them first. As a mom I am totally baffled by this. When I was a kid you could not keep me inside the house. I was happiest sitting outside under a big tree watching the clouds going by, or racing up and down the neighborhood street. Not sure how I ended up with two kids who need to be prompted to be outside.
I have discovered if I set a craft up outside they are more motivated to join me in the back yard and will likely stay outside longer. It can be a simple craft, or an entire project, but it helps transition to spending time outside.
By now you all know the benefits to getting kids outside. But just in case, here are 5 more reasons:
- Kids who interact with nature tend to engage their imaginations more and invent their own games. This involves critical thinking and observation of what’s in their environment.
- When kids are more physically active they are building gross motor and fine motor skills.
- Kids who spend time outside more tend to develop a lifelong love of nature and see the need to preserve it.
- Kids tend to develop more visual and spacial skills when learning to navigate natural environments.
- Anyone who spends time outside feels less stressed.
You may have heard the benefits of kids crafting. I like to be thorough so again, here are 5 more benefits:
- Crafting benefits executive functioning. Having to plan a project or craft and lining up each step helps kids with focus and memory skills.
- Develops fine motor skills. This helps with handwriting and coordination.
- Helps kids recognize patterns and sequence recognition.
- Crafting builds on long term academic skills like math and reading.
- Teaches social interactions like learning to share and use manners when sharing.
Why not combine these benefits and craft outside? The bonus is you can make a mess outside and not worry about having to clean it up right away, or any of the materials staining your nice dining set.
Outside crafts to do with your kids
If you are tired of the old standby of bubbles and sidewalk chalk try these 5 things to amp up your outdoor craft time.
Make colorful bubble art. Simply pour some bubble mix into a shallow bowl and add food coloring. Mix well and use the bubble wand to soak up the mixture. Blow bubbles right in front of the paper or canvas to be sure they land and splatter on the surface. This will make a really unique print for your house. Or turn the paper into personalized stationary.
Paint some rocks. You can paint rocks to add some color to your back yard, or create a fun tick tack toe set by painting three similar rocks to look like lady bugs, and another three rocks a solid color. If you really want to make a fun project sign up to paint some Kindness Rocks to leave around your community, or for friends and family to find in your back yard.
Make your own fossils. This was fun when we did it with cookie dough, now I can’t wait to try it with baker’s clay. Simply roll a small piece of dough into a ball and press flat between your hands. Then press a leaf, or pine cone, or blades of grass into the clay to create a fossil imprint.
Design a paint brush from nature. Simply dip flowers into paint and press flat against your paper to make a pretty print. You can also dip leaves, feathers, a bundle of pine needles or stems into paint and use them like a paint brush.
Re-imagine your water table. When my kids were really little we used the water table for more than just water fun. We filled it with things like shaving cream, a bubble bath for dinosaurs and cornstarch with water (it creates a really fun solid that melts into your hand).
Crafting outside has long term benefits for kids, and the combined benefits create life long skills sets. You don’t need to wait for summer vacation to give any of these ideas a try. As soon as the weather is nice enough to be outside skip the chalk and do something a little different! Your kids will always remember the fun you have together, no matter the craft.
The Whatever Mom is a full-time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here. You can also find her musings and popular shares on Facebook and Twitter. Stay up to date with her creative ideas and outings on Pinterest.
Today I registered my twins for Kindergarten. It was easier than I thought, especially when I saw their excitement. I think I was mostly nervous about how they would respond. I imagined them kicking and screaming that they wouldn’t want to go. Thankfully, no protest and they charmed everyone with their smiles and enthusiasm. After all the paper work was signed and handed over we went home for a snack.
It was such a beautiful day outside that I couldn’t bear the thought of staying inside for the rest of the day. So, we ate our lunch on our deck and played on the swings. My daughters began creating letters with sticks and acorns and pieces of nature they found. We spelled out our names and it was really cool to see them get so excited about it. Great way to practice our spelling!
Both girls have expressed an interest in learning to use my camera lately. I just have a simple point and shoot, nothing fancy. But, it’s enough to pique their interest. So, I pulled out my ancient digital ELF camera for them to use. It still uses the same SD card as my current camera, but if they dropped the old one I wasn’t going to freak out.
Surprisingly, my girls had interest in taking pics of tree bark and grass to compare the textures and colors. They both enjoyed taking their own pictures of the art work they created. They moved the sticks around to make different shapes and designs before snapping another pic. It was fun to watch them just enjoy this process.
So, what does this have to do with registering for Kindergarten? Well, I started to remember all the fun we’ve had in the back yard the last five years. From the first time I put them in their baby swings, to watching them kick a ball and running through play dates, to today; where they are now emulating me and my love of taking pictures.
We have spent a lot of time in this back yard creating art and sharing it with all of you. It has been such a wonderful time for us. So, here is a look back at some of our outdoor art experiences.
- Acorn tops (must be dry, clean and free from cracks)
- Elmer’s Glue
- Gems, or stones