Smiling like Sunshine: Enjoying outdoors

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Enjoying outdoors

Welcome to the May Carnival of Natural Parenting: Growing in the Outdoors
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared how they encourage their children to connect with nature and dig in the dirt. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

With the arrival of spring, we have been spending more time outdoors. In the last month, the weather has been incredibly beautiful. It hasn't rained at all, can you believe it? (In case you don't know,I am writing from England!)
In April, we enjoyed the  flowers in our garden. My daughter has been waiting for them eagerly. Four year olds are not very patient. After a long winter when we began to see the daffodils in our neighbourhood, I explained to her that  the flowers in our garden will blossom very soon.
She had sown the bulbs back in November so she was proud to see them.

On the way to her preschool, there is a tree. When we saw the first signs of spring on its branches, we began to examine them carefully. As the leaves grew, we felt them and enjoyed the softness. A few weeks later, the flowers blossomed. A gorgeous magnolia tree!
We take our children out rain or shine. I believe there is no such thing as bad weather. As long as we put on appropriate clothing, we will be fine.
We like walking in the woods, jumping in the puddles, finding insects, snails and mushrooms, looking at them with a magnifying glass.
There is a beautiful park close to us. It is our second address.We like playing in the playground and then going to the rose garden to have a picnic.There is also a sensory garden where people are encouraged to touch and feel the plants. Great for children!
Who needs lots of toys in the garden? Playing with bark, leaves, sand or water is immensely joyful for my kids. I love to see it in their sparkling eyes. Let them get messy! Let them enjoy without worrying!
I want my children to feel that they are part of the nature. Nature has restorative powers both mentally and physically. It boosts our health, wellness and creativity. It bonds us with other people and the animals surrounding us.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon May 10 with all the carnival links.)

  • Get Out!Momma Jorje gives reasons she doesn't think she gets outside enough and asks for your suggestions on making time for the outdoors.

  • How Does Your Garden Grow?The ArtsyMama shares her love of nature photography.

  • We Go Outside — Amy at Peace 4 Parents describes her family's simple, experiential approach to encouraging appreciation of nature.

  • My Not-So-Green Thumb — Wolfmother confesses to her lack of gardening skills but expresses hope in learning alongside her son at Fabulous Mama Chronicles.

  • Enjoying Outdoors — Isil at Smiling like Sunshine describes how her children enjoy the nature.

  • Five Ideas to Encourage the Reluctant Junior Gardener — For the rare little ones who don't like to get their hands dirty, Dionna at Code Name: Mama offers tips for encouraging an early love of dirt (despite the mess).

  • Connecting to NatureMamapoekie shares how growing your own vegetable patch connects your child to nature and urges them to not take anything for granted.

  • The Farmer's Market Classroom — Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction shares how the Farmer's Market has become her son's classroom.

  • Seeds — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment's hubby Ken shares his perspective on why gardening with their kiddos is so important . . . and enjoyable!

  • Toddlers in the Garden — Laura at A Pug in the Kitchen shares her excitement as she continues to introduce her toddler and new baby to the joys of fresh veggies, straight from the garden.

  • Nature's Weave — MJ at Wander Wonder Discover explains how nature weaves its way into our lives naturally, magnetically, experientially, and spiritually.

  • Becoming Green — Kristina at Hey Red celebrates and nurtures her daughter's blossoming love of the outdoors.

  • Little Gardener — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis looks forward to introducing her baby girl to gardening and exploring home grown foods for the first time.

  • Cultivating Abundance — You can never be poor if you have a garden! Lucy at Dreaming Aloud reflects on what she cultivates in her garden . . . and finds it's a lot more than seeds!

  • Growing in the Outdoors: Plants and People — Luschka at Diary of a First Child reflects on how she is growing while teaching her daughter to appreciate nature, the origins of food, and the many benefits of eating home-grown.

  • How Not to Grow — Anna at Wild Parenting discusses why growing vegetables fills her with fear.

  • Growing in the Outdoors — Lily at Witch Mom Blog talks about how connecting to the natural world is a matter of theology for her family and the ways that they do it.

  • A Garden Made of Straw — Kelly at Becoming Crunchy shares tips on making a straw bale garden.

  • The Tradition of Gardening — Carrie at Love Notes Mama reflects on the gifts that come with the tradition of gardening.

  • Gardening Smells Like Home — Bethy at Bounce Me to the Moon hopes that her son will associate home grown food and lovely flowers with home.

  • The New Normal — Patti at Jazzy Mama writes about how she hopes that growing vegetables in a big city will become totally normal for her children's generation.

  • Outside, With You — Amy at Anktangle writes a letter to her son, a snapshot of a moment in the garden together.

  • Farmer Boy — Abbie at Farmer's Daughter shares how her son Joshua helps to grow and raise their family's food.

  • Growing Kids in the Garden — Lisa at Granola Catholic shares easy ways to get your kids involved in the garden.

  • Growing Food Without a Garden — Don't have a garden? "You can still grow food!" says Mrs Green of Little Green Blog. Whatever the size of your plot, she shows you how.

  • Growing Things — Liz at Garden Variety Mama shares her reasons for gardening with her kids, even though she has no idea what she's doing.

  • MomentsUK Mummy Blogger explains how the great outdoors provides a backdrop for her family to reconnect.

  • Condo Kid Turns Composter and Plastic Police — Jessica from Cloth Diapering Mama has discovered that her young son is a true earth lover despite living in a condo with no land to call their own.

  • Gardening with Baby — Sheila at A Gift Universe shows us how her garden and her son are growing.

  • Why to Choose Your Local Farmer's MarketNaturally Nena shares why she believes it's important to teach our children the value of local farmers.

  • Unfolding into Nature — At Crunchy-Chewy Mama, Jessica Claire shares her desire to cultivate a reverence for nature through gardening, buying local food, and just looking out the window.

  • Urban Gardening With Kids — Lauren at Hobo Mama shares her strategies for city gardening with little helpers — without a yard but with a whole lot of enthusiasm.

  • Mama Doesn't Garden — Laura at Our Messy Messy Life is glad her husband is there to instill the joys of gardening in their children, while all she has to do is sit back and eat homegrown tomato sandwiches.

  • Why We Make this Organic Garden Grow — Brenna at Almost All The Truth shares her reasons for gardening with her three small children.

  • 5 Ways to Help Your Baby Develop a Love of the Natural World — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama believes it's never too early to foster a love of the natural world in your little one.

  • April Showers Bring May PRODUCE — Erika at NaMammaSte discusses her plans for raising a little gardener.

  • Growing Outside — Seonaid at The Practical Dilettante discovers how to get her kids outside after weeks of spring rain.

  • Eating Healthier — Chante at My Natural Motherhood Journey talks about how she learns to eat healthier and encourages her children to do the same.

  • The Beauty of Earth and Heavens — Inspired by Charlotte Mason, Erica at ChildOrganics discovers nature in her own front yard.

  • Seeing the Garden Through the Weeds — Amanda at Let's Take the Metro talks about the challenges of gardening with two small children.

  • Creating a Living Playhouse: Our Bean Teepee! — Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings shares how her family creates a living playhouse "bean teepee" and includes tips of how to involve kids in gardening projects.

  • Grooming a Tree-Hugger: Introducing the Outdoors — Ana at Pandamoly shares some of her planned strategies for making this spring and summer memorable and productive for her pre-toddler in the Outdoors.

  • Sowing Seeds of Life and Love — Suzannah at ShoutLaughLove celebrates the simple joys of baby chicks, community gardening, and a semi-charmed country life.

  • Experiencing Nature and Growing Plants Outdoors Without a Garden — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares some of her favorite ways her family discovered to fully experience nature wherever they lived.

  • Garden Day — Melissa at The New Mommy Files is thankful to be part of community of families, some of whom can even garden!

  • Teaching Garden Ettiquette to the Locusts — Tashmica from Mother Flippin' (guest posting at Natural Parents Network) allows her children to ravage her garden every year in the hopes of teaching them a greater lesson about how to treat the world.

  • Why I Play with Worms. — Megan of Megadoula, Megamom and Megatired shares why growing a garden and raising her children go hand in hand.

  • This post is linked to Tots100 Blog Hop


    1. "I believe there is no such thing as bad weather. As long as we put on appropriate clothing, we will be fine." This is precisely how I feel! My daughter loves to play outside in the pouring rain.

      Your neighborhood park sounds fabulous!

    2. I love that you have a sensory garden nearby - we would love to visit something like that! Growing a sensory garden was one of the options we've thought about for the past couple of growing seasons, but Kieran has chosen something different. I might have to grow one someday, it sounds so fun.

    3. Oh now see?! THAT is what I'm talking about! I want to have outdoor adventures ALL the time like this... but it just doesn't happen. We live in an apartment complex and while we do love to take walks and look at the few bushes and trees, the birds and neighborhood dogs... we just don't have any good nature destinations within walking distance of our current home.

      Have you seen It is awesome for figuring out a new neighborhood.

    4. Melissa,"rain or shine, out we go". That is our motto.Jumping in the puddles is a great hit here,too ;)

      Dionna, sensory gardens are great for kids. I would be very nice for Kieran if you can grow some plants in your own garden.

      Momma Jorje, we are lucky to have such a place close by.I hope that even if they are not close to you, you enjoy the other destinations. Thanks for the website but I live in England :)

    5. Isil, you should do similar posts to your other blog too and other moms should inspire them!

    6. After the rain is one of the best times to go exploring outside with all the new growths popping up and the creatures that come out! Although some find rain depressing, I find it refreshing and will be doing the same as you once my son is old enough to explore everything (he is only ten months old right now). Sometimes it is difficult to just let your child play in dirt because of the mess it causes but the joy they get out of exploring it is worth it!

    7. I love your comment that there's no bad weather. It's definitely an attitude that works for me here in the Pacific Northwest of the US. We get a lot of chilly rain all winter, and I have to just tell myself to dress for it, and out we go!

      Saying you don't need fancy garden toys is so true, too — Mikko loves picking up sticks and rocks and dandelions wherever we go.

    8. I love the picture of the duck. My Little Man adores ducks. I missed watching the trees bud this year. We went south for a week and when we came back all the trees had already budded. Little Man did get to enjoy seeing the cherry blossoms open though. He's still a little young to play in our yard - sticks, acorns and pebbles all go in the mouth if he gets a hand on them. Thank you for sharing!

    9. A sensory garden is a fabulous idea! And to go out rain or shine is something I struggle with, yet my children always do it (and I usually do too). Our children get so much benefit from being outside and playing with sticks. I will just have to keep reminding myself of that through the 10 months of rain!

    10. Visiting from Sunday Best at Feels like Home. I love the name of your blog- I think my daughter smiles like sunshine :)

    11. Alissa,thanks for stopping by and commenting. So happy that your daughter is smiling like sunshine,too :)

    12. Isil, I see we have lots in common. :) I love your conclusion...

      "I want my children to feel that they are part of the nature. Nature has restorative powers both mentally and physically. It boosts our health, wellness and creativity. It bonds us with other people and the animals surrounding us."

      I feel the same, that truly we are one with nature. Appreciating and enjoying it can be a very simple experience, part of everyday life. It is interesting how we as a people have become disconnected from this truth.

      Thankfully we have open discussion like this so we can get back to the basics with our families.


    Thank you so much for taking your time and leaving a comment!