Tuesday 28 May 2013

Blog Challenge: Great Adventure

Now that Ebony is better at walking, we have been spending lots of time outdoors. She loves the park, and the swings in particular. She likes walking down the puddle-filled country path to find the horses in the field. She likes playing in the garden - eating gravel and stroking Sweep the rabbit.

When the weather is nice, it’s lovely to spend time outdoors. Ebony loves the freedom of being able to run around, and I like seeing her take an interest in her natural surroundings. But as soon as the weather turns, which it always does, I am left wishing I could emigrate to a warmer climate.

Last week, this blog post was shared on my Facebook timeline. I read it and felt completely inspired. In the post, Sophie (the author) talks about the importance of outdoor play. And not just swings and playgrounds, but real outdoor nature play. And not just in sunny weather - all year round. Sophie and her friends take their children to woodland at the same time every week. It is part of their routine, and they go no matter what the weather.

As I read the blog, I felt motivated to do something similar. I love spending time outdoors, and so does Ebony, why should we stay cramped inside just because of some bad weather? There is a whole world to explore. So what if we get a little wet?

Then I realised most of my favourite childhood memories were created in the great outdoors. I remember hearing the rain hitting the roof of the tent on one of our family camping trips, and the smell of wet grass as my sister and I snuggled up on the (no doubt punctured) airbed in our (no doubt leaking) tent. I remember days spent running wild around country parks, National Trust sites and sweeping hills. My mum would fill the car with as many children as she could cram in, and we’d set off for the day. I spent most of my childhood wearing spare clothes and waterproofs, because my original outfit for the day had gotten wet or muddied.

I want Ebony to have these memories too. I don’t want her to remember days sat on the sofa watching rain trickle down the window. I want her to remember wellies full of mud, grazed knees, muddy hands and the rain pelting hard against her face. I want her to feel a part of her surroundings, and to learn to respect them.

And so, I have decided to make this my goal. After reading the blog post, I decided that Ebony and I would do the same. We will go out and play in the open air every week. No matter what the weather. I am going to blog about our adventures, because this way I will feel that I really have to keep it up. No excuses.

We started our outdoor challenge today. We put our wellies on, zipped up our coats, and headed out into the unknown. We are lucky enough to live a five minute walk from Redbrow Woods, so that’s where we went. It rained and it was muddy, and we had fun. Ebony stomped in the mud, splashed in the puddles and collected sticks. We saw a long tailed tit up close, and Ebony shushed me so we wouldn’t scare it. We both stayed really quiet, and the bird hopped around getting closer and closer until Ebony squealed with excitement and the bird flew away. Ebony saw her first slug, which she loved. She explored moss, flowers, bark, trees and mud. She didn’t mind the weather, in fact she made us stay out longer because she found a puddle on the way home and insisted on jumping in it for a good five minutes.

The woods were quiet, and we only saw one other person the whole time we were there; an old man walking his dog. He looked at Ebony, wearing her once-white now-muddy tights and wellies, and stomping around in a puddle, and said: “Ah, the great adventure.” So that’s what I’m going to call this challenge: great adventure.

If anyone would like to join us in this blog challenge, or even join the challenge without a blog, then please do! Moral support will be most appreciated on those cold, icy mornings in winter. All you need to do to take part is head out into the great outdoors once a week - every week - and have a great adventure. This challenge is about spending time exploring nature - so no playgrounds, no toys and no balls I’m afraid. Let your children enjoy the changing seasons and explore how the plants, trees and flowers change with them.

If you write a blog, please link up your posts below. I’ll be posting once a week, but you can post less often if that works better for you. You can visit the same place every week, or explore a variety of locations, it’s up to you. To join in with the great adventure link up, all you need to do is add your links below. Use #greatadventure when sharing posts on Twitter and Instagram.

The Rules:

- You must have a great adventure once a week, every week, for as long as you can handle. No excuses! You don't have to blog every week though, you could do a monthly (or whenever you remember) round up if time is limited.
- You must leave the balls, toys and bikes at home. This is just about the kids and nature - no distractions.

Let’s hope next week is sunny!

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