During one of my granddaughter's visits to us, I heard her several mornings coming up the basement stairs to my room singing so sweetly , "It's a Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood, A Beautiful Day In the Neighborhood". Her little 3 year old voice was so precious and she was innocently singing a Daniel Tiger song as she came to wake up her Gigi. This unforgettable memory of Hazel is forever imprinted and will always be dear to my heart.
As children, it's easy to see the beauty that surrounds us: the leaves turning to a bright orange or red come fall, the sun setting against beautiful clouds, the crickets chirping, the birds singing. Heck, when I grew up like many of you, technology didn't exist so most of my time was spent playing outdoors. However, I think when we get older and busier with things to do, we don't take the time to slow down and appreciate the beauty that does surround us every day.
Our grandchildren are the future caretakers of this earth and I hope that they always are in awe of the beauty around them. My job as their Gigi is to always encourage outdoor play whenever possible.
Tips to enjoying the beauty in nature with your grandchildren:
Have a picnic at a park or in your backyard with them. Bubbles or balls are always good to bring along to a picnic. Bring a board game - children always like playing cards or games. Planning a picnic might require a little more planning; however, check out this website to get you started. If your grandchildren are older, it's a good time to just let them talk, you listen and be there for them
Hike and look for "hidden" treasures (rocks, sticks, flowers) along the trail - I found this website, www.thevintagemodernwife.com for some free downloadable scavenger hunts to do together
Find different types and colors of leaves
Grab some binoculars and look at the birds
Plant a garden. I know it's wintertime right now; however, I'm in the planning stages of planting a garden with my daughter and I hope to have my grandchildren help in harvesting all the yummy vegetables and spices we hope to grow
Enjoy a beautiful sunrise or sunset together. I never mind getting up early when my grandchildren are visiting. It gives their parents time to sleep in and I treasure our one on one quiet time together
Play "I Spy" as your outdoors. I spy something green or orange. The grandchildren love to give hints and play along
Go fishing with them
Play in the rain. There's something so peaceful when it's raining to go outside. If you don't want to play in the rain, simply sit under a patio and enjoy a good rainstorm
Take them to a Botanic Gardens. Last time I took my 3 year old granddaughter, Isabelle, to the gardens I was amazed at how much she knew about trees, plants and bugs
Take a walk around your neighborhood or theirs pointing out the different flowers there are. In my case, Isabelle tells me what flowers are what. Her other grandma bought her this wonderful ABC flower book and she can identify the flowers some better than I can. Slowing down and stopping to smell the roses
I live in Colorado so here's some recommendations for exploring nature in the snow:
Play hide and seek in the snow. This is something both of my 3 year old granddaughters, moms and I enjoyed playing over Thanksgiving together
Make a snow angel, build a snowman
Go snowshoeing with them. No matter the age, this is something that they can easily pick up. If they can walk steadily (maybe 3 years and older) they can do this. Even better do this when it's snowing and the tranquility of the snow is magical
if you're a skier or snowboarder, take them to the mountains with you and have a special grandparent/grandchild day together on the slopes
Go sledding together - when i was sledding with my granddaughter this last weekend, she said, "Gigi the snow is so sparkly." I told her it is and we got down on our bellies and looked at the snowflakes. I told her each snowflake is unique just like each of us. What a sweet moment.
With technology being front and center in most of our grandkids' lives right now, especially during covid learning, why not spend more time in the beautiful great outdoors with those we love and learn to see the world through their eyes. The future is theirs and we need to make certain that they see all the beauty around them to preserve nature. We could learn a lot from our grandchildren and as an added bonus, there are many health benefits to getting them outdoors as well besides keeping us Grandmas active as well. Whatever activity you decide to do with your grandchildren, have fun, enjoy their company and be truly PRESENT for them.
"Playing together in nature is as much about us as it is about the child. Children get to celebrate and be themselves, while we are reminded of our inner child -
the essence of who we are."