What are you doing with your young children on the fourth Wednesday of this month? If you have no idea, that’s okay. My good friend Bethe Almeras, otherwise known as the all-wise Grass Stain Guru, has an idea for you. She has ideas for activities to do with your kids each and every weekday for an entire year.
With the help of the attendees at a workshop she recently taught, Bethe has created the Activitypalooza. It’s a calendar of nature and outdoor play ideas and activities. Bethe believes that “early childhood is the best place to establish connections with the natural world and help establish preferences for outdoor play and exploration.” Preference over what, you may ask? Preference over anything that involves a plug and a screen.
I met Bethe about three years ago, and her enthusiasm and leadership in this area helped me realize I needed to severely limit screen time for my boys. It also gave me the courage to tell them “go outside to play and don’t come back in until I tell you to.” I grew up with those instructions, but I needed Bethe’s prodding to get me to give them to my kids when they were old enough to be outside on their own.
I wish I had Bethe’s encouragement when my boys were very young. Perhaps they’d be even less likely to choose a video game over playing outside than they are now. It’s still a struggle at times.
So if you have young children, take Bethe’s and my advice. Get them totally turned on to nature and the outdoors when they are little.
So, what does the Grass Stain Guru suggest you do with your kids on the fourth Wednesday of June? She suggests you set up hula hoop “garden plots” outside and explore what’s found inside those hula hoops with a magnifying glass. Great idea, isn’t it?
The activities are seasonally appropriate. One day in January she suggests blowing bubbles when it’s freezing outside to find out what happens. Even though my boys aren’t so little anymore, we’re going give this a try this winter. I want to know what happens.
There are several healthy food related activities, too, like going to the farmers market one day to buy several varieties of apples, and then tasting the apples the next day and creating a taste test graph. Another suggestion is to go to take a field trip to a farm to look at different grains.
There are many great ideas for outdoor activities with children on Bethe’s blog, so when you go view the calendar, stick around and check out what else she suggests.