4 min read

Little local adventures, late winter 2024

With all the mild days we've had this winter, we have spent a lot of time outside. We've visited playgrounds with friends, yes, but we have also spent a lot of time outside in our own (new) yard, as well as on little excursions close to home.

Cooper is very proficient at his balance bike now, preferring it to his scooter, most of the time. And this suits Finn, who picked up the scooter with ease (well, forward movement on it anyway, braking and steering are works in progress). Between the two of them, we are a more mobile family. Although family walks always include plenty of stops to look at and collect rocks or other "street treasures," as Cooper calls them.

In our yard, the boys have adopted a favorite play spot, under the deck, where there is plenty of dirt for scooping and transporting, or for making into cake. And while they play, I'm happy to supply snacks, and set up a spot in direct line of the sun, my hands occupied with a simple knitting project.

On a different day, we did some creek exploration with friends at a local nature preserve. The kids had a blast looking for and learning about scuds, and even Finn caught a few. There was barefoot play and balancing on fallen trees, scooping mud, playing with sticks and all manner of outdoor play goodness, and a whole morning spent getting dirty.

We just recently spent a morning at a local arboretum, and the boys played while my friend and I knit(!) and we all had picnic lunches, and as the sun warmed the air, we all shed layers.

On a day when it poured rain for hours on end, I took the boys on a "rain walk." Per Nicholas' suggestion, we even brought along a toy boat that Cooper used to "save" dozens of worms from the puddles, and we got to see the current from the water drainage carry the boat.

And after our weekly milk pickup, we spent an hour at one of our favorite parks, looking at tractors and animals, and enjoying the warm sun, despite the brisk wind.

We don't always spend tons of time outside – some days it feels like a struggle – but I am trying to prioritize that with the boys, and of course, it feels easier as we require fewer layers and less forethought for some outdoor play.

Some days, that looks like Nicholas taking the boys for a walk in the neighborhood, and then an impromptu lesson in how to disassemble and reassemble a balance bike (Cooper still loves to take things apart).

We want to encourage their love of being outside as much as we can – in all the various shapes that can take. Sometimes that looks like a longer drive and hours spent at a park with friends, and sometimes that looks like enjoying our very own yard: rocks, dirt, sticks, and balance bike pieces included.

It's almost spring!


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