Thursday, October 17, 2013

Playing Outside and Awe & Wonder

It's important for even young toddlers to be outside A LOT.  Some of my most colicky babies have quieted down as soon as we began a walk outside, and I think we as parents often relax, too.  An apartment or living room can't contain a child for very long, and it can't offer the things that "come naturally" outside:  the air is different, the sounds are different, the light is different.  Unless you live in a concrete jungle, the excitement of God's creation is right there for the taking, every day, regardless of the weather.  Sometimes it's when the weather is lousy that you see the most interesting behaviors among the bugs or animals, or when it's dark outside that you see the flowers that only open then. While I haven't had experience with autistic children or children with sensory issues, I can attest that my own children AND I need plenty of time outside every day, even if it's just puttering around the block.

There's "every day" getting outside and there's "one per week" getting outside and then there's the occasional "going on a trip!" going outside.  Here's some visuals to jump-start your imagination:

Cheekwood Gardens, Nashville (just around the corner)
On a cloudy day, just before some rain. 

Is it soft or prickly?  (Answer:  soft!)
Can you see the orb weaver?  We've nicknamed her Mabel.
Hello, gorgeous!
Captiva Island & Boca Grande, Florida (near grandparents, often a Christmastime destination)

  If you can make it to a beach every once in a while, it's a blessing!  Everyone can find something to do on the beach.

Observing natural oddities can really absorb a child.  One afternoon we noticed that several of these fish had washed up on shore (they were dead when we found them). 

Mixed ages do well on the beach.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee (a rare family vacation with everyone)


Finding creatures prompts lots of questions and piques curiosity, but sometimes you just have to take in the grandeur....
... (or throw rocks)...
The Backyard

"See the baby bunny?"
Even weeds are pretty.


  1. I look at these beautiful photos and dread winter coming! It is so much harder to parent when you don't have the escape valve of the outdoors.

  2. This look like blowfish / puffer fish.