Today's post comes from one of my radio interview listeners~
"I'm a stay at home mom with a 5 year old who loves to be outside. After a few hours, I'm tired and want to come inside; he cries and throws a fit. Help!"
As with most of my responses, I feel it's important to try and discover the reason for the fit; then it's typically easier to find the fix. In this case, we are thinking that this mom's son is having too much fun playing outside, and he equates going inside to putting the brakes on the fun.
With that said, perhaps it would work if, before going outside to play, Mom does a little pre-planning ...
Since we are talking about a five year old, we will use the outdoor activity of digging in the dirt as an example; however, you will be able to restructure this around many playtime activities. Before going outside, explain to your child that you are going to play together, and that you are going to plant some veggies or herbs or whatever ...
In advance, set up a play station (notice there are no title caps there!) inside by covering a table with newspapers, and arranging clay pots or plastic containers from last night's take-out. Then, head outside with some plastic containers and digging equipment. Remember to have fun with this ... and make it last for as long as possible. Look for worms, bugs, whatever ... and remember, it's OK to be grossed out by them, Mom!
Then, carry the fun (bug-free dirt, seeds, or small plants and roots) into the house. Now you can spend as much time as possible inside ... but still playing and having fun together. This will accomplish several things; my three favorites for this scenario are:
1. Distracting from the fact that you are coming inside,
2. Slyly demonstrating an indoor/outdoor connection, and
3. Teaching by turning this into a 'disguised' lesson in agriculture!
Later, as you watch your plants grow, you can build in nutritional lessons. And even later, cooking lessons as you use your homegrown ingredients!
Hint: if you are like me, and don't have a very green thumb, herbs are a great option ... especially hearty ones that grow under almost anyone's care :). I loved to do this with mint which grows like the weeds most people try to get rid of! We experimented with fresh-squeezed lemonade, fresh-brewed iced tea, and even cooked dishes!
Have fun with this, and please let me know how you spin this to work for you!
Meanwhile, happy digging~