Spending time outdoors offers so many benefits for little ones - even (if not especially) right from birth. You may have noted a look of fascination on your baby's face as they stare at leaves rustling in the breeze, seen the sheer glee of 'toddler meets puddle' or the intensity of a stick den building project involving older children. No matter how young, the enjoyment, and sense of wonder generated through little ones engaging with their environment is priceless.
Here is what a little time spent in nature each day does for kids:
- Promotes confidence and a sense of well being.
- Gives exposure to rich experiences that are unique to the outdoors - such as direct contact with the weather and the seasons.
- Builds an understanding of (and respect for) nature and the relationship between, humans, animals & plants.
- Develops problem-solving skills and confidence.
- Nurtures creativity, imagination, inventiveness and resourcefulness.
- Improves sleep (for everyone!).
|1. 'Story Stones' are wonderful for encouraging imaginative play & enormously fun to make. Start by taking little ones to a riverbed or beach to collect pebbles (the cheat is a bag of pebbles from a garden centre). Then draw, paint or stick cut-out pictures of whatever you like to tell tall stories about. A tip for toddlers is to include photos of themselves and their siblings or friends. Outdoor proof your stones with a coat of varnish or clear nail polish. Add to them over time and before long you'll have a collection to match even the wildest imagination.|
|2. Many farm parks or petting zoos will have pet or orphaned lambs around now, and 4 times a day they need to be fed. Some places will let you watch or even join in! A Lamb's suckle is surprisingly strong, so tell older kids to hold on tight & help younger toddlers keep their grip. Little babies will enjoy watching the action and having a pat.|
|3. Spring showers? Make the most of it to create a work of (abstract) art with your little ones. Grab some water based paint & paper then let your child get to work, once the paint is in-situ let the rain join in for a few moments. Hang the wet paper up to dry and watch the colours run into each other. The results are akin to something you'd expect to see in a posh gallery.|
|4. After the rain, your baby or toddler will absolutely love the opportunity to get messy in the mud. Wrap your little one up warmly & in something waterproof (try to forget about the laundry pile) and get spoons, muffin tins, pots etc out to make glorious mud pies! Decorate the finished product with spring flowers for hours of muddy fun! Suggesting to your little ones that the fairies/worms/birds are hungry, helps get around proud little ones wanting to bring creations back inside!|
|5. Dandelion Clocks, they are everywhere at the moment and little kids love them. A great visual for little scientists wanting to learn about seeds and germination, or just blow them and make a wish! Younger babies and toddlers will find this a great way to learn how to blow (a skill that leads directly to bubbles!!!). Older children (under supervsion of course) may find it interesting to see what happens when you light one with a match - quite a spectacle.|
|6. Now that all the leaves are out, a nature walk to identify trees is a great way to spend an hour or so and get little ones out into nature. Your local park or green space is ideal for a leaf hunt at this time of year. Little babies will enjoy being out riding in a carrier & soaking up the sights and sounds of the trees moving in the breeze, older toddlers and kids will have fun trying to identify different types of tree by the leaves. The woodland trust nature detectives Tree ID Sheet is perfect for this activity. Print it and go!|
|7. Little kids love to dig stuff up, much to the chargrin of those gardening types who may have just planted some prize sweet peas only to have them helpfully weeded. Harness this natural curiosity but channel it into an area of the garden where they can dig and weed as much as they like. Attention spans are short and worms are facinating so don't expect much to get done, but this is a great way for a toddler to help mummy or daddy and have fun at the same time.|
|Spring is such a busy time in nature - a look around the garden or local green space should reveal a whole host of critters - In May expect to see Ladybirds looing for mates, Snails (cute baby ones), Earthworms, Caterpillers, Butterflies and Incy-Wincy-Spiders!|
Merino Wool - Baby Clothing for Year Round ComfortMerino baby clothing is an absolute essential all year round, whilst it is true that it is not cheap to buy, it is very durable and stretches and grows with your child ensuring months and months of wear - making it genuinely excellent value. By now most people know how wonderful 100% Merino Wool baby clothing is during the winter months, but Spring can present an even trickier challenge in ensuring your little one is comfortable thanks to highly changeable conditions - chilly and rainy one minute, then hot and humid the next.
Merino Wool is truly amazing thanks to its unique ability to breathe and regulate body temperature - keeping little ones warm when it is cold, and cool when it is hot!Merino Wool comes from the wool of the merino sheep, who have evolved to withstand some of the harshest conditions in the world. The highlands of the South Island of New Zealand where temperatures range from 35°C in summer to -15°C in winter (Brrr!). What results is the softest finest quality wool in the world. Merino wool is so soft and fine that it is ideal for babies with sensitive skin (even eczema). Wearing Merino next to the skin creates a cosy 'microclimate' which insulates naturally, is breathable and draws moisture away from the skin. Merino wool is also easy to wash (machine and tumble dry), quick drying, naturally antibacterial and has a (natural) UPF of 30-50+. All of these unique properties make it is a perfect fabric for little ones (who of course) can’t tell you whether they are too hot or too cold! A Superlove Merino baby gift set or Sleep Bag makes a truly wonderful gift for a newborn baby.