Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Nature Boxes - A Fun Outdoor Weekend Project

"That's the thing about Mother Nature, she really doesn't care 
what economic bracket you're in." - Whoopi Goldberg

   In a time where many of our children seem like Neo from The Matrix, I try to get the kids outside for some period of time each day. While the older generation marvels at how good our kids can be at today's technology, we as their parents like to limit the time they spend on iStuff in order to keep them balanced in all areas. Hence, the outdoor projects. 

   Just like the indoor activities, I've noticed my children's interest can be lost in the outdoors as well. If they migrate into the garage to dig through my tools, ask to help paint, etc., I know they're bored. So I keep a keen eye on the situation to determine if there are other children to play with, if certain toys have not been pulled out to ride one, and so on. It's a delicate balance, even if we as parents have ourselves convinced that "we played outside until the street lights came on without any problems staying entertained!" 

   So one recent weekend, I noticed how much of our yard was usable for projects. The kids are always picking stuff up and making pretend items, worlds, etc., so I grabbed them both a box and told them to start making something like a pixie/fairy or mini troll house. They got right on it and spend a LOT of time putting them together. The best part was that these "nature boxes" were never finished. They pulled them back out over the next several days and into the next weekend. They even had them out up through this Memorial Day weekend these past three days. It's been fun to see their imaginations run wild. The stories about the invisible inhabitants were as much fun as when they found caterpillars in the bushes and made them the new home owners. 

   It's about being creative yourself. People have often complained that they are "not that creative". It's not hard. I think you simply need to let go. Think back to your childhood and how easy it was to make believe. I pretend to be successful every day, so pretending with my kids should be a snap! Try something new with your kids, and let it be outside. See what happens. 


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