At the Austin Science and Nature Museum digging up dinosaur bones.
Welcome to the June Carnival of Natural Parenting: Outdoor fun. This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared their stories and tips for playing outside with kids. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
Last summer we had record breaking heat here in Austin, TX. I think it was 70+ days of triple digit weather and lemme tell you, it was miserable. MISERABLE.
In all honesty, it wasn't just the heat. I mean, I've lived here for 15 years and I've come to like the warm, dewy blanket of humidity that settles on the city each summer. Ninety-five degrees with 100% humidity? No problem. I used to wear jeans all summer long. But add a newly walking toddler to the mix, who, like his momma doesn't sweat a whole lot, and it was a really, really bad combination. In addition to all that, Anthony started traveling more, my mom got a job, and my head was spinning with loneliness and lack of ideas of what to do with myself (and Hollis).
It meant all the things I'd done with him when he was little and not all that interested in things other than my boob weren't really options. Walks at midday were out because of over-heating issues. Playing at the park after 10 am was also not an option because I only knew of parks that didn't have shade covers and the playscapes would scald little hands and legs. Hollis was also afraid of water features, so the obvious answer to oppressive heat was also not an option for us. And my newness to all of this compounded the problems.
So, last summer was a bitch, to say the least. This summer, however, which also promises to be a scorcher, will be different and here's why:
- I know of half a dozen parks with either lots of trees or shade coverings (Tanglewood, Garrison, Dick Nichols, Mary Moore-Searight, Zilker, and Circle C)
- Hollis' tolerance of heat has gone up
- He has some color on his skin now so if I forget the sun screen we can still play outside
- I bought a year long membership to the Austin Children's Museum
- I've learned about The Nature and Science Center
- We have a beautiful front yard with a 30 yo oak tree out front providing plenty of shade and a place to hang the swing
- I have an amazing new stroller with better sun-blocking capacity and better ergonomics so my back won't suffer on long walks
- Hollis loves the giant, air conditioned mall
That is my plan of attack this summer. I love being outdoors with Hollis, even if it's just running errands, but I particularly love to see him use his body and navigate balance and strength with exploration. If I let him, he'd play in the car for hours just climbing in and out and over the seats, messing with all the gadgets and switches. It really doesn't take a whole lot to engage him and it's really important to remember that a toddler's needs aren't the same as an adult's. He can be happy doing almost anything anywhere so long as his basic needs are met: not too hot, plenty of water, and lots of snacking.
And with a new and improved attitude about the summer months with a toddler I'm really looking forward to this year's fun and frolic.
Visit Hobo Mama and Code Name: 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:
- Garden Treats — Asha at Mom Costume has once again been bitten by the gardening bug — and this time her baby's tagging along for some fresh air and dirt exploration. (@titbagsandsnoot)
- Outdoor Free Roam — Mamapoekie at Authentic Parenting follows her daughter's lead whenever they go outside. (@mamapoekie)
- Summer fun in Austin with a toddler — Jessica at This Is Worthwhile is brainstorming ways to beat the heat in Texas. (@tisworthwhile)
- summer fun… — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children is looking forward to spending the summer outside with her children the way she used to spend summers with her mother.
- Outdoor Fun for Pre-Walkers — Maman A Droit has figured out ways to let her pre-walker enjoy the outdoors. (@MamanADroit)
- Summer Homeschool Fun at Camp Review — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now discusses how Camp Review motivated and captivated her homeschooling family. (@DebChitwood)
- Digging, Tree Climbing and Puddle Jumping — Laura at Laura's Blog bemoans the loss of her girls' climbing tree but knows they'll find something else just as naturally tempting.
- The Sweet Smells of Summer — Erin at A Beatnik's Beat on Life is looking forward to the many smells of summer she and her daughters enjoy and identify. (@babybeatnik)
- June Carnival of Natural Parenting: Outdoor Fun — Sybil at Musings of a Milk Maker is a confirmed couch potato who can't help but be inspired by the outdoor opportunities Seattle offers her family. (@sybilryan)
- Take a Hike — Michelle at The Parent Vortex connects with her family and the Earth on frequent hikes in their Pacific wilderness. (@TheParentVortex)
- Following Paul — Julie at Simple Life gives her kids unstructured time to dig in the dirt and pick mulberries. (@homemakerjulie)
- Instilling a Love of the Outdoors in Your Baby/Toddler — Tessasdad at Stay At Home Dad in Lansing offers a photo book of tips for helping your little ones enjoy the outdoors. (@tessasdad)
- Camping, baby! — Jen at Grow With Graces has easy tips for tent camping with a little one. (@growwithgraces)
- Think Outside the Easel for Summertime Fun — Acacia at Be Present Mama finds several ways to bring art fun to the outdoors.
- Outdoor Learning in our Urban Environment — Andrea at Ella-Bean & Co. has found ways to get grass between her daughter's toes, even in the city.
- Outdoor Education — Alison at BluebirdMama offers parents tips and resources for making each outdoor excursion a learning experience. (@childbearing)
- Turning Inside Out — Christie of Childhood 101 finds kids get a kick out of taking indoor toys outside. (@Childhood101)
- Watching Peas Sprout — Deb at Science@home combines fun with purpose in this educational outdoor activity. (@ScienceMum)
- How To Create a Pirate Treasure Hunt & Other Easy Outdoor Pirate Activities (June Carnival of Natural Parenting) — Dionna at Code Name: Mama has pirate-themed play ideas for ye scurvy landlubbers. (@CodeNameMama)
- What We Do — Luschka at Diary of a First Child has managed to expose her 8-month-old to a wide variety of outdoor fun, even with the notoriously dreary UK weather. (@diaryfirstchild)
- Summer Fun — Darcel at The Mahogany Way finds her family's visits to the beach refreshing in so many ways. (@MahoganyWayMama)
- Playing outside without a backyard — Sheryl at Little Snowflakes doesn't let the lack of a backyard stop her family from enjoying the outdoors. There are plenty of things to do outside of your yard! (@sheryljesin)
- Having Fun Outdoors, Playset Free — Guavalicious at They Are So Cute When They Are Sleeping has resisted a backyard playset in favor of the regular backyard. (@guavalicious)
- Moon Gazing with your Toddler — Paige at Baby Dust Diaries is keeping her toddler up at night, but it's for a good reason: to share the wonders of the night sky! (@babydust)
- the great outdoors — The grumbles at grumbles and grunts wonders whether her urban child can experience the same free-range childhood she enjoyed. (@thegrumbles)
- Let's Take It Outside! — NavelgazingBajan at Navelgazing is looking for ideas: how can she spend time with her pre-walker outside this summer? (@BlkWmnDoBF)
- A home by the sea: June Carnival of Natural Parenting: Outdoor fun — Lauren at Hobo Mama is living her dream of a home near the beach, and taking full advantage of it. (@Hobo_Mama)
- An Outside Girl — Zoey at Good Goog moved her family to (almost) the middle of nowhere so that her outdoor-loving girl could have more grass and less concrete. (@zoeyspeak)
- Neighborhood Nature — Kelly at Kelly Naturally has learned to connect with the nature she has instead of mourning the nature she misses. (@kellynaturally)
- Building Lovely Memories of Swimming, Spiders and Gravestones — Joni Rae at Tales of a Kitchen Witch and her family are simply outdoorsy people. (@kitchenwitch)
- "Buh-Bye" Season — Danielle at born.in.japan must leave laundry behind and follow her son's call to the outdoors. (@borninjp)
- Backyard Camping — Becoming Mamas took her family camping very close to home! (@becomingmamas)
- The Color of Dreams — Seeking Mother at Woman Seeking Mother makes gardening magical by teaching her son that each flower is a faery. (@seekingmother)