First, ensure that the basics are available:;open;grass,;water,;soil,;sand,;trees,
and rocks. Trees will be even more enjoyable if they are of the sort one can climb.
Water does not have to be a swimming
pool, and when children are small, even
just a bucket filled with some water is sufficient; water features, such as fountains,
are also very entertaining and relaxing. If
you have these basics, living things such
as insects, birds, lizards, spiders, etc. will
quickly inhabit your backyard, making it
an outdoor observatory for nature study.
Add interesting play, provoking things
such;as;a;climbing;frame,;swings;(home-made ones can be made, e.g., knotted ropes
tires, bamboo, a hose pipe, and pets.
Provide an area where they can roller
skate or ride bikes or practice throwing a
ball through a loop. Set up a net for kicking a ball into.
Involve your children from a young age
in helping you when you have your own
vegetable or herb garden, flowers, bonsais,
orchids, or whatever your green thumbs
like to grow. If you are an animal lover, all
sorts of pets and other small animals can
provide lots of learning opportunities for
caring and can even develop into a business later, e.g., raising birds, chickens, etc.
Our children here in
South Africa grow up
outside . . . with bare feet
on grass, mud play, tree
climbing, and sunshine
all year ’round!
There are so many opportunities for
productive (paid) work in a garden; you
can decide if you want to add them as
paid chores. Mowing and maintaining
the lawn; varnishing wooden structures,
chairs, tables, or other furniture; painting permanent structures; annual tree
planting or trimming; adding fertilizer
on a regular basis to grass or beddings;
cleaning the fish pond; raking up autumn leaves; and weeding flowerbeds
are examples of outside chores that children can carry out successfully—and
they’re fun too! Projects for older children could include building a tree house,
swings, ladders, and structures for imaginary play, e.g., boats, tents, prisons.
Do things outside regularly:;have;picnic
lunch or dinner outside, do art outside,
read on a blanket or a swing or on the
grass, have tea under a tree, play badminton, play ball games, pitch a tent and
camp in your backyard with a real fire to
cook a meal on, watch the stars and seek
out constellations, or study the moon’s
cycle for a month.
Teach your children observational skills
as you do this yourself. For example,
highlight changes in seasons and nature every time you are outside; watch
the leaves fall; experience the warmth,
the cold, changes in light, length of day,
and how much the wind is blowing; and
observe how much or little rain falls and
then talk about God’s design for seasons
of growth and rest. Learn to observe