The weather is getting warmer, days are getting longer, and everyone has a bit of cabin fever from those winter months. Whether your twins are 4-years-old or four months old, it is time to get everyone outside!
Walk it off
When our kids were smaller, we hit the local greenway on a regular basis. Even in the infant stage, the fresh air made for happy babies. Exercise made for more relaxed parents as well. Getting out just felt good! If you don’t have a convenient greenway, try a walk around the neighborhood (whether it’s your neighborhood or not). Most subdivisions are used to foot traffic.
Nature – it’s all around us
Studying nature can also be a great family activity. I grew up in a farming community and my family is still big into vegetation. Taking the kids out in the yard and checking out the local flora is always a hit. Lillian loves picking the “itsy bitsy tiny” flowers. Yeah, they are weeds, but to her they are beautiful.
Dig, dig, dig
Do you have a little spot that needs some tending? Let the kids dig a little and see what you find. Worms are fascinating; it can bring back some of the high school biology memories. And let’s not forget the benefit of “hard” work. At the age of two, our kids love to “help” so they have tried their hand at raking and picking up branches in the yard. The attention span isn’t terribly long, but it’s teaching them the value of helping out and good work.
Chalk it up
If you have more asphalt than green space, grab a box of sidewalk chalk. Hopscotch is always fun for older kids. For the littles, it helps to learn numbers and counting, as well as honing the jumping game.
Other outdoor games include “red light, green light”, tag and hide and seek. These can all be taken to the park, too, which will have plenty of swings and slides for every age. For the older kids, try a scavenger hunt.
Hike it up
My favorite activity is hiking, and there are plenty of state hiking trails in our area. Our first hike, the kids were about six months old so they were in carriers. These days that’s a bit more weight than we can add to ourselves so we have opted for flatter terrain with just enough scenery to keep the kids occupied.
It’s raining, it’s pouring
And lastly, I want to discuss rain. While I don’t condone taking your kids out in a toad-strangler or thunderstorm, a light rain can be fun. You can get a great pair of rain boots on Amazon (our dinosaur boots are from an Idaho-based company called Lone Cone). Splashing in puddles can be a blast! Not to mention having a little lesson on micro-habitats and the physics of distance and mass. Have your kids experiment how big of a splash a rock makes when it’s dropped from high up versus closer to the water’s surface.
Where I grew up, there was always a place to run through fields, get in a creek, or throw a fishing line. Whether it’s organized green space or your back yard, there is plenty to do outside. With the twins, it’s been a test of my resolve to get them into the outdoors. Fortunately, they only kick and scream when it’s time to come inside.
Jennie Kenney lives in Middle Tennessee with her husband, Jason, and twins Levi and Lillian, born November 2016. She also has two Brittanys: Saige and Ellie Mae. She has a BA in English, a Doctorate in Clinical Audiology (AuD), and works for the Tennessee Valley Healthcare System. Born and raised in Kentucky, she has also lived in New York, Ohio, Tennessee, and Utah.