“Just as children need good nutrition and adequate sleep, they may very well need contact with nature.” – Last Child in the Woods
Into the garden we go, nearly every single day. This is our regular time spent in nature, as it requires the least amount of effort. So no matter how busy the day gets, I make sure we at least head down to the shared garden space of our apartment building. We are incredibly blessed to have a neighbour who does gardening as a hobby, so we get to enjoy the benefits of her labor. I cannot tell you how much we love all the flowers and herbs that are growing.
We spend time strolling around, watching and observing the new sights of the day. It’s been lovely to see the season of Spring unfold around us, each bud and blossom slowly opening, and leaves unfurling from the trees. Some of Margot’s favourite sights are the bees busily at work, and the ants crawling on our doorstep. It’s become an essential part of our day, checking on them, singing them their song “The Ants Go Marching”, and asking if they are dancing or going home to dinner, and if they’d like to share her ball today.
We spend a great deal of time searching to see what tiny discoveries are hidden here and there, nature’s treasures of flowers, stones, shells, leaves, and twigs. Checking on the fruit trees, picking flowers, looking for the neighbour’s cat, playing with the rocks on the driveway, and watching clouds together make for the most quiet, peaceful mornings. There’s always something to do or to explore together.
We also discovered great fun around the fire pit, turning over stones, sorting them, and making designs on the stumps circled around. I helped her make the design above, but she loves to make her own too, often simple circles or “Jesus crosses”. What a great way to practice shapes and sequencing! I love watching her fingers move and decide what to create next. Such an insight into her young mind. After playing this way for awhile, she will have a burst of energy and mess up her own artwork and begin a fun game of jumping up and down from stump to stump around and around in a circle. One time we did that for over thirty minutes. She loves all of our little impromptu games we come up with together.
There are quite a few snails to be found in our garden, which probably isn’t so great for the things growing, but what child can resist a slimy snail in its fascinating spiral shaped shell? It’s become a regular game of seeing if we can find any that day.
A special treat for Margot is when we occasionally happen upon a lady bug. They are a favourite of hers! This girl loves bugs in general though, and will sit so contentedly watching bugs and insects of any variety, busy about their work or marching up a wall or along a crack in the ground.
It’s getting pretty warm these days, so we head outdoors in the morning usually to avoid the hottest time of the day. Baby brother Cassian accompanies all of this quiet exploration by riding on my back in the baby carrier. His gaze just follows Margot around as he contentedly watches her adventures, and slowly drifts off to sleep to catch his late morning nap before we head indoors for lunch and naptime.
“Time in nature is not leisure time; it’s an essential investment in our children’s health (and also, by the way, in our own).” – Last Child in the Woods
This is part of a Little Woodlanders series! Also check out…
- Little Woodlanders: an Introduction
- Spring: at the Park
- Spring: in the Forest
- Spring: Under the Cherry Tree
- Spring: Wildcrafting Herbs