Well I don’t know about you, but I’m certainly enjoying the summer like weather we’ve been blessed with this last few days! Certainly our kids have thoroughly enjoyed it too! The other day they actually had their 1st Day going to school WITHOUT a coat! They squealed with delight!
It’s also allowed us to get out the back garden toys and allow them more time to play outside. This has the added benefit of the sunlight helping to boost their natural serotonin levels (for an excellent article on how to boost serotonin levels without drugs please do read: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2077351/)
Owl & Lark where so happy to be playing outside, we even had a ‘picnic’ style dinner outside! It was so wonderful to hear them laughing, chatting and generally having a brilliant time in the sun!
However, this was not always the case. When our kids first arrived, even going out into our back garden was traumatic. It was a good 3 months before they would play out there happily. And 6 months before they would do so without sight of one of us (ie: we would physically have to be seen for them to be comfortable). As such we invested in a few items for the backyard that allowed them to explore new sensations safely and in time comfortably. It took time, and some of them they rapidly outgrew (they only lasted ½ a season before they were too big) but it was worth it and has lead to them loving being outdoors and experiencing things!
So a few of the bits we had were:
A see-saw (we had a friend who donated this one which we were able to use for a few months: Little Tykes Whale Teeter) allowed me to slowly rock them in a non-threatening motion. Both re-living some of that early care giving that they missed out on with the rocking sensation, and lots of chatting, looking them in the eye etc, and also allowing them to feel a slow, steady physical sensation releasing oxytocin (that feel good brain chemical see this book: Brain Based Parenting which is great at explaining the physical things in the brain which help us to understand why reactions from our children are happening and how we can help).
A tent and tunnel allowed our kids to create their own safe space outside. By the end of 6 months, they would happily go and play inside their ‘club house’ (the name they grabbed from Mickey Mouse’s club house!!) often having snacks in there and chatting to each other.
A sandpit also allowed our kids to get messy. Believe me this was a MAJOR issue when they first arrived, any amount of dirt/marks etc, would send them into a hysterical screaming fit. We always had to have wet wipes at the ready. So playing with them (I relived my own childhood) making sand castles showed them it’s OK to get a bit mucky, we can clean up later!
I’m sure it’s the same for all kids, but water never fails to entertain them! We literally give them a huge bucket of water, some plastic toys and they would play for ages, watering the plants, dumping water from one bucket to another. Whilst we did it with buckets, if you feel you’d want to invest in a water table, or give one as gift, this one is reasonably priced: Step2 Water Table
So whilst a few of them have gone on to other homes, the sandpit, buckets of water and a new tent (we upgraded to the Ikea Carnival One as they were too big for the others anymore!) remain providing hours of fun outdoors (and time for mummy to get the house clean without feeling guilty or worried!!).
I hope you’re enjoying the weather as much as us! Happy Playing:-)