This blog is part of our “Summer Sparks” series where we will give you tips to inspire a summer of wonder! For more ideas on how to encourage imagination all summer long check out more blogs and toys!
In our house, summer has always meant trips to the beach! Living in an area where it gets cold in the winter we welcome the moments we can have outside playing and exploring with our little ones.
Each summer brings new discoveries from the outside world. At year 1, our oldest daughter discovered the feel of water on her feet and (unfortunately) the taste of sand in her mouth. At year 2, she walked with her daddy up to her knees in the water. At year 3, she discovered shells with Mommy, flying a kite, and Frisbees.
Most recently, for her 4th birthday, she discovered the world that lives beneath the sand. Using her pretty petals trowel she and her dad dug up sand crabs, which she put in her bug house and was proud to show off to her dad and grandma.
After getting over her initial fear of these little moving rascals that help keep our beaches clean, she used her magnifying lens to inspect the small creatures. She asked why they were there, and with the help of their smartphones, Mom and Dad were able to give her some answers!
She wanted to make sure they got back home so she released them and sent them home to “see their mom and dad!”
Bye bye sand crabs!
Here are three ideas for encouraging outdoor exploration – whether at the beach, the park, or in your own backyard!
Send kids on a mission to find something shiny, something green, something beautiful. Once they return, send them back out to find something smooth, something rough, something soft.
Hand kids a few crayons, colored pencils, or paint chips from the hardware store, and challenge them to find the colors in nature.
Designate an area where it’s safe for kids to dig (i.e., not a flower bed or a place where someone might later trip and fall). Encourage them to look for worms and bugs to observe. Be brave and give them some water to explore making “rivers” and “roads” in the mud!