When you live in a place where winter occupies half the year, you learn to embrace the cold. But my goodness all, when that first warm, sunny day finally arrives, it feels like heaven on your skin. That first opportunity of the year to let your toes wiggle free, to head out without a jacket and to just sit on your porch and let the breeze brush across your face – there is just nothing quite like it. We had that first day of official “spring feels” here this week, and we are just soaking it all up.
Last spring little man had just started crawling and was still pretty immobile, and I can already tell this year is going to be a whole different ball game. The minute we head outside we are ready to jump in every puddle, pick up all the sticks, point out all the bunny “poo poo” and give mom a near heart attack as we dart toward the street. Because of this, I have no doubt we will be out an about at the park, on the trails, at the beach, you name it this summer, taking in all that the great outdoors has to offer and explore. That being said, there are those days too, when you just feel like sticking a little closer to home. And because of that, I have been working to brainstorm a few things we can do this summer right from the comfort of our front porch to not only enjoy the fleeting season of warm weather but continue to learn and explore our world while we are at it.
So here’s what I’ve got so far folks:
1. Read a good book (or 2, or 10…). Each day last spring/summer, I would bring Asher out onto the porch with me during the afternoon, and we would read a few books together. It became a part of our routine that I looked forward to each day, and I cannot wait to bring it back this year.
2. Play a good ole’ fashioned game of “I spy”. Labeling and naming any and everything is incredibly important for building a toddler’s vocabulary. Think of the numerous possibilities right from the comfort of your own front yard – “tree”, “garbage truck”, “squirrel”, “sky”, you name it. You can even reverse the roles and ask your toddler to name what they see and you have to “find” it as well.
3. Grab a bin, a bowl, or a small pool and create your own nature themed sensory bin. Fill it with water, leaves, dirt, pine cones and basically anything else you can collect around your yard. You could add things like letter and number tiles to it to give your child additional practice with some of those basic skills, or you could get real “real” and add some earthworms or other fun crawly creatures for them to explore.
4. Bust out the sidewalk chalk. It never goes outta style, friends. Draw pictures, practice color names and watch your child cover themselves from head to toe. Because you know it’s going to happen.
6. Blow bubbles. Better yet, bring out the ingredients to create your own natural bubble solution and turn it into a little science experiment you can do together beforehand!
7. Collect, sort and count. Snag a pile of wood chips, rocks, or leaves and sort them with your child in a variety of ways. Ie. big/small, rough/smoooth, etc. Once grouped, you can even turn it into a math activity, by counting the number you have in each group or by asking them to compare which group has more or less.
8. Have a porch picnic. Stray from your traditional snack or lunch locale and bring out your bites to eat outdoors. The nice part is, if you forget anything, you are within walking distance to your kitchen.
9. Sit, sip a cold beverage and simply enjoy the sounds of the outdoors and one another’s company. For this occasion, or any other while we are out and about we love having our new Pura Stainless Bottles in hand. Not only are these bottles Nontoxic Certified, but they designed them to be utilized and enjoyed by the whole family. All bottles come with insulated options for those hot summer days on the horizon, as well as a variety of different top styles to fit each individual’s unique needs and preferences from infant through adults. When Asher isn’t busy stealing our bottles, he loves walking around with his and proudly sipping and showing it off because it looks just like mommy and daddy’s. And I love nothing more than knowing that not only are they safe for our family, but they are helping us do our part in working toward keeping this world and environment of ours safe for future generations to enjoy from their porch and beyond.