Sticks, stones and free play outdoors

Playing outdoors is an essential part of our homeschool.

One hour at the park, every morning, after the breakfast dishes and lunch prep are done, is a great start to the day.

Fresh air, warm sunshine, wide open spaces, lush greenery, a myriad of wild living things and ample opportunities to play  – these are what we look forward to.

But that would be an understatement.

We go out because we yearn for it, are desperate for it, and feel, instinctively, that we need it.

Staying indoors, mostly all day, every day, in a building – whether at home or in a classroom environment – is simply destructive to the mind, body and spirit.

It drives kids nuts. It breeds an illness called Stay-Home-Mama-Madness.

And this is also one of the main reasons we homeschool – so we can incorporate lots of outdoor play into our day. The flexibility of homeschooling means we can extend outdoor play beyond the hour, if we need it, and if the tropical sun isn’t beating down on us too severely. We have spent whole mornings outdoors, on cool days, with never a dull moment.

We have such strong, primal feelings toward outdoor play, I thought I’d deconstruct what we did over the past two days.

Yesterday, my 30-week pregnant body was too tired to agree to a game of hide-and-seek with 5 year old Lamb and 2 year old Piglet at the park, so I sent them on a pebble-hunting expedition.

I sat on a bench and just watched.

And loved what I saw.

 

1. Sensory stimulation.

Hmm. Why can’t I pick these ones?

Picking pebbles (30Sept13)

 

I can feel them with my feet.

Walking on pebbles (30Sept13)

 

2. Imagination.

What could I do with these?

Stone construction 1 (30Sept13)

 

3. Creativity.

I could build something.

Stone construction 2 (30Sept13)

 

Anything.

Stick construction 1 (30Sept13)

 

4. Attention-building.

Keep it there, keep it up!

Stick construction 2 (30Sept13)

 

5. Social development.

What can we do together?

 

6. Motor skill development.

We could run a race.

Running races (30Sept13)

 

Skip race.

Skipping races (30Sept13)

 

Hop race.

Hopping races (30Sept13)

 

Crawl race.

Crawling races (30Sept13)

Every single one of these, their ideas.

 

7. Physical diversity and development.

Climb.

Climb (30Sept13)

 

Leap.

Midair leap (30Sept13)

 

Balance.

Balance (30Sept13)

 

How many different poses can I strike in mid-air?

Leap (30Sept13)

 

All of that was just yesterday. And today?

8. Environmental awareness and identity.

Look, Mama! A bird’s feather!!! Just as we entered the park.

Whatszis feather (30Sept13)

All sorts of questions. Would it feel soft or hard? Which bird?

I plonked myself down in a swing and let them go.

 

9. The shaping of morals and values.

Can we chase birds?

Bird chasing (30Sept13)

 

10. Good ‘ole plain fun.

Races again – rolling toy cars down the tunnel. Over and over again.

Car tunnel rolling (30Sept13)

 

And enjoying going barefoot. Peace!

Two thumbs up (30Sept13)

 

We often play different organised sports and games during our one-hour morning at the park. But over the past two days, they got these 10 things.

All this, with only a teeny bit of me.

It was mostly just themselves, their imagination, and the great outdoors.

Have I also said how wonderful it is for two young siblings to be able to homeschool together? It is so much easier, enjoyable, creative and productive, compared to keeping them separate. But that’s for another post.

Get out there, my little friends. Wonders await you.

I’m so happy to have a post published recently at Makchic where I share my breastfeeding story and 7 essential breastfeeding tips for new moms. Please come have a read. Thank you!

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