Getting more nature play often sounds like a big massive task. If you are in the city, surely it means travelling a bit to get out of the smoke and noise?
Yet really, playing outdoors and connecting with nature can be very simple. And sometimes the beauty lies in the simplicity, in the spontaneity of it. I’m not a very spontaneous person, but sometimes, and admittedly not often enough, I let it in. And am reminded that I should do it more often.
So today, as we came home from a great day with lots of things seen and done, but mostly indoors, 19 months old would not come inside. She played in the garden. 5 year old joined in as I watched. 19 months old then left the front garden and went for a walk. And we simply let us be led by her.
All we did was walk around the block. But that’s not even half the story. Flowers were licked and tasted, picked and smelled. 5 year old let herself immerse in a bush and found some seeds that she picked. There was a lot of running. Stones were picked up and some were good enough for chalk drawings. 5 year old left her mark on every wall in the neighbourhood. 19 months old listened to birds and discovered them high up on aerials. They carried each other, jumped off walls, climbed up fences and laughed a lot.
And when daddy arrived, 5 year old announced full of excitement “Daddy, daddy, we had soooo much fun today!” I thought she was referring to her play date, the play group or the lunch in a restaurant we’d had. All the “special” stuff. “I found a chalk stone and drawed on every wall!” It was the early evening walk around the block that was the day’s highlight.
I’d been worried that I hadn’t managed to cook dinner. When in fact, I couldn’t have made a better choice than to let my girls lead the way and show me the really important stuff.