I sometimes get a little worried that we don't get out as a family as much as we should on weekends. We don't have a special outing or favourite place to visit each weekend…..we don't have family living close by to gather with for family….in all honesty we are a bit boring and blatant homebodies i think!
Is this a bad thing? Don't get me wrong….we do go on outings….we aren't actually hermits but i do think we prefer to just hang out and keep busy together in our own little environment sometimes…there aren't bags to pack, prams to load, snacks to sort and tantrums travelling in the car….we just walk outside our front door and because Miss Teen and Daddy are home we can do a few more interesting things than when i am on my own with the toddler twosome during the week!
After another wave of guilt this afternoon when i realised the weekend had passed by again i began to think about some of the positive aspects to staying home and exploring our own backyard!
I made a little list of my 5 favourite reasons to stay home sometimes and explore and appreciate the environment just outside our front door! Perhaps some might resonate with you too!
1. My absolute favourite would have to be THE GARDEN
I love showing the toddler twosome how to plant seedlings and flowers, explaining why we need to water plants to help them grow and involving them in growing and tasting our own food. I love that they can already name so many vegetables at 2 yrs old (eating them is another topic!) and they are gaining an understanding of where food originates and how it gets to our table.
I love that Miss Teen can wander out to the garden to pick herbs and vegetables for her Food Technology lessons…and then write in her assignments that she sourced many of the ingredients for her recipe from the backyard.
I love that all 3 girls…and their parent's get such a sense of satisfaction when picking food we have grown and nurtured.
Do you have a vegetable or flower garden? Perhaps you might have just a few little pots by the back door….no matter the size a garden can provide so many learning as well as fun experiences.
2. Then there are ROCKS!
We have a lot of rocks around our house….some are smaller, some are larger…the more we dig while landscaping the more we find…we are sitting on a very rocky slope of land! The great thing about rocks is that there are so many ways to use…and play with them.
We have been working them into our landscaping and while we work they are providing endless opportunities for the toddler twosome to challenge their gross motor skills and use their imaginations.
I let them explore in their own way…always conscious of safety but not wrapping them in cotton wool.
You might not be lucky enough to have the bushrocks we do but even a little bucket of small rocks and pebbles collected from a walk or trip to the beach can provide endless fun when arranged in a little spot in the garden or courtyard!
3. NEIGHBOURHOOD WILDLIFE
We live in suburbia although we are lucky to have a few acres to indulge our dreams! Since we moved here i have constantly been astounded with the wildlife living right under our noses….we just need to take the time to watch for it.
I love that the twins don't have to visit an expensive wildlife park to see some of our much loved Australian animals.
There are the wallabies….sometimes our back paddock can look just like a wildlife sanctuary and i wonder where they all go! We are learning to live with them rather than against them….there are now quite a few more fences around than we would like but the trade off is standing on the front verandah and watching these interesting animals close up.
This weekend we were all lucky enough to see a koala in our front yard high up in one of the gum trees….It was so wonderful to be able to see one on our property and it was the first time the toddler twosome had ever seen a live koala (or teddy bear as they called it!) How privileged we are to be able to stay at home and see this cute and cuddly animal in his own territory.
There is abundant birdlife to watch and name and recently we have been entranced by the baby birds all beginning to emerge from their nests and calling for their mothers each day! Our current favourites are the Kookaburras, the parrots (when not eating my fruit trees!) and magpies!
I realise that not everyone is lucky enough to see wildlife on their doorstep but perhaps you might like to take a closer look at that butterfly flying past the window or snail slowly creeping past the back door…..sometimes it might take a look through some fresh eyes to see the beauty surrounding us.
4. THE JOY OF DIRT!
Because we are in the throes of landscaping every weekend (and will be for some time to come due to twin 2 yr olds slowing us down!) there is dirt exposed everywhere right now. A toddlers dream play material.
Dirt is just so exciting to dig, to water, to make mud, to squelch…to track red footprints throughout the house…..but mainly just to explore. It certainly is a toddler's paradise to rival any fancy park at the moment…although not always my favourite!
Do you have dirt at your place? Often even the tiniest backyard has a spot just ready for a little digging and dirtplay!!
5. AND FINALLY…..JUST HAVING FUN
When you are at home exploring you can wear your boots and old clothes (or tutu), do a….
And I could go on but regular readers will be familiar with the messy fun we have outdoors…for those newer readers you might like to read my 90 Frugal Fun Ideas for Outside Play post!
Do you like to get creative outside…whether for yourself or with the kids?
When i sat down and really thought about the opportunities that are presented each time we explore and work in our own environment i began to see that we as a family aren't missing out on ‘quality time' together….we are creating it in our own way.