Resisting the Urge…

Pink Water Crocs

It’s almost here — the end of the school year. Can you believe it?!

As summer approaches, so do longer hours of unscheduled time for many children. And while the temptation of structuring every moment is ever-present in today’s society, I would like to encourage you (well me, and pediatricians, child psychologists, and many other experts) to provide plenty of time for good old-fashioned, unstructured outdoor play. Allow for plenty of daily chances for children to be in the driver’s seat, making their own rules, and creating their own stories.

Resist the urge to over-schedule. Resist the urge to hover. Embrace mess and down-time. Let children explore and find their own way out of self-proclaimed boredom.

“Play not only affords children an early source of identity, but is full of useful information about yourself and the world around you,

for once not filtered through adult minds and eyes.”  — Libby Brooks (Author)

Here’s the thing: Children have spent the last nine months very scheduled, buttoned-down, and zipped-up. They’ve been tested. They’ve sat. A LOT. And they have listened — to instructions  directions, reprimands, and the word “NO”. So this summer, practice saying “Yes”.

As in, Yes you may:

  • go outside and play
  • read comic books out in the hammock
  • walk/ride your bike to a friend’s house
  • camp out in the backyard
  • play flashlight tag after dark
  • build a fort
  • plant a garden or even just dig a hole
  • go barefoot
  • get really, really dirty
  • be a kid

Your mantra: Resist the urge.

You can do it. I know you can!

See ya outside! ~ The Grass Stain Guru

 

Lazy Blogger + Natural Childhood…

 

So here’s the thing — sometimes, I just can’t get my shit together bring myself to blog. It’s really that simple. Sometimes I let life, laziness, or anything slightly shiny distract me from this site. I would say, “bad guru” save for one thing: life is meant for living. So forgive my absence, but know it won’t be my last. Sometimes I will suck at being a blogger, and I am 100% OK with that. :-)

Interestingly enough, the thing that led me back here was a random tweet by someone who stumbled across an old post of mine, 10 Thoughts on Restoring Childhood. It picked up quite a bit of momentum, and people were really kind about the post. Again.

So, back to putting issues related to today’s childhood out into the universe on a semi-regular basis. Wish me luck! And in the meantime, watch this fabulous video out of the UK, which certainly mirrors what is going on here in the US.

“A child outside doing normal things has become abnormal.” ~ Stephen Moss

 

See ya outside! ~ The Grass Stain Guru

photo by: jessicafm

Fed Up With Frenzy? Get ‘em Outside to Play!

 

TGSG Note: Hi gang! This week, my friend and fellow nature geek, Suz Sachs Lipman, is stopping by to share some fun activities to help get you and your family outside and connecting with nature. Suz is celebrating the publishing of her new book, Fed Up with Frenzy: Slow Parenting in a Fast-Moving World. See ya outside! ~ The Grass Stain Guru 

If you find yourself craving a deeper connection to nature, but don’t know where to begin or what to do once we get there, you’re not alone. These simple and rewarding activities can help you and your family slow down enough to observe and experience nature’s small wonders and have fun while you’re doing so.

1.  Name Walk

As lovely as nature is, the instruction to observe it can be overwhelming, especially for kids. Just as birdwatchers focus on birds, other opportunities to focus on specific elements of nature can help children tune into their surroundings.

You’ll need:

• Paper and pencils, optional

Before beginning your walk, instruct everyone to look for things that start with the same first letter as their names.

Lead kids on a route or trail or around a park and encourage them to look in the sky, on the ground, and in trees. Be prepared to walk slowly and perhaps not cover much distance, to allow
deep observation.

Try other observation walks by having everyone look for the same type of thing, such as flowers, leaves, birds, rocks, small items, smooth items, or certain colors. See how many varieties the group can find within one category.

2.  Nature Bracelets

I’ve done this very easy activity with groups of all ages. It encourages people to look all around them.

You’ll need:

• Masking tape, 1? or wider, enough to go around each child’s wrist

Tear off a piece of masking tape, slightly longer than the child’s wrist.

Place it around the wrist with the sticky side out.

Go for a walk or hunt and look for small items in nature that can be stuck to the masking tape, such as leaves, twigs, seeds, acorns, pebbles, and pods. In general, things that have already fallen on the ground are safe to pick. If in doubt, leave something.

Fill the bracelet by sticking the items onto it and wear it proudly.

3.  Kim’s Game

This well-known game has entertained many generations and is easy to organize and play, indoors or out.

You’ll need:

• 20 small items, such as acorns, shells, twigs, rocks, pinecones, or seeds
• Pencil and paper for each person
• Towel or something to cover items

Decide whether you are playing in teams or individually.

Uncover items for two minutes.

Cover items again. Teams or players remember and name as many objects as they can.
Each player earns one point for each correct article named.

Seeking a different way to play? Try Duplication. Uncover items for two minutes. Players go out in nature to find duplicates of the items.

Have fun while you deepen your connection to nature!

Playfully yours, Suz 

 

Adapted from Fed Up with Frenzy: Slow Parenting in a Fast-Moving World, by Susan Sachs Lipman. The book contains these activities and many more. Follow Suz on Twitter!

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photo by: Genevieve Paule