“The Heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” Psalm 19:1.
With spring here and summer quickly approaching, it’s the perfect time of year to step outside and enjoy God’s marvelous gift to us – The Great Outdoors!
We all know there are numerous benefits to outdoor play. It promotes physical fitness, can help in the reduction of stress/anxiety, stimulates creativity, supports social development, and is a great natural source of vitamin D just to name a few. However, if you are like me, you may remember the pre-electronics era, when we spent most of our childhood outside. As the old saying goes, “Necessity is the mother of invention,” and the spur to creativity I would add; as I child I had the most elaborate mud pies around! It’s this concept that we, as a society, need to tap into. With the hustle and bustle of busy lives, it’s essential that we become intentional about unplugging and stepping outdoors.
There is no better way to promote bonding than to be silly and play together.
Parents, this is your excuse to let all inhibitions go and be the goofiest, craziest, most playful adult this world has ever seen – your children will LOVE it! Don’t set expectations and remember to be flexible. Be willing to teach your child HOW to enjoy the great outdoors, by participating WITH your child in these activities. Based on the tone of the day, be sensitive and in tune to what your child needs… a low key activity or a high energy activity? If you notice your child quickly becomes over stimulated, be mindful of that and participate in quiet, slower paced outdoor activities such as outdoor reading and snuggle time. If your child needs to release energy, an old fashioned game of freeze tag may be the perfect antidote.
When considering outdoor play, think outside of the box. You can make almost any outdoor activity sensory rich! Your kids would love a sensory-minded scavenger hunt. Be creative and ask yourself, is this something we can move outdoors? Even simple activities that are typically performed inside can be made more exciting by simply doing them outside. For example: Outdoor story time. Take a blanket, books a snack and cop a squat under a shade tree for a nice low-key activity. Reading a book is a great opportunity to snuggle and provide extra touches; perfect for promoting attachment. So many activities can also be a practical Bible lessons as well. Ask the Lord, “How can I use this as an opportunity to reiterate your love to my child?”
Here are some of our favorite Springtime Activities:
- Scavenger Hunts or Nature Hike – can be sensory-minded, or alphabet focused
- Drip Drip Splash Game (think Duck Duck Goose with water)
- Gardening –great opportunity to teach children about how we grow in God
- Outdoor story time
- Bug Hunt
- Backyard Camping – great family activity! Set up a tent, fire pit and roast marshmallows.
- Old Fashioned freeze tag, sack racing or tug of war.
- Family Game night OUTside – let the children pick the games (always makes for an interesting time!)
- Collect and fill little bags with snacks, bottled water, Scripture and /or handwritten letter, and give to people who stand on the street corners with signs asking for help. A great idea to teach our children about local missions.
- Park Hopping – see how many local parks or playgrounds you can fit in a day!
- Backyard carwash (kids loving washing their bikes and scooters).
- Lawn Art – children love to finger-paint; take an old bedsheet outside to use as a giant canvas
Kimberly Evans, North Alabama Post Adoption Social Worker
For more about Lifeline’s Crossings ministry, visit our website HERE.