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Babies and Kids, Uncategorized

Why Every Toddler Should Have Outdoor Play

The reason I let my kids get dirty, is the reason for their memorable and happy childhood. Every toddler should be exposed and have outdoor play as their daily routine. It is crucial in child development and it aids in helping a child explore their own imagination. This is why I let my kids get dirty. One of the most annoying things for me is hearing another parent yell at their kids while they are playing at the park “You’re going to get dirty!” That is almost as bad as the time I heard a dog owner yell at their dog at the dog park to “stop playing” and I roll my eyes…

Have you ever heard of the saying “The dirtier the feet the happier the heart”? Well now you have! Everyone has their own parenting style. With Instagram being so popular it has give rise the children’s fashion and moms being more concerned about the type of clothes their 2 year old wears than what they do. My parenting style is let them be kids!! Kids care about what they do, what you do with them and the attention you give them…not clothes. As far as outdoor play I absolutely love letting my toddler play outdoors go the park to run barefoot in the grass and the sand. To get grass stains on there clothes. To get so dirty they need a bath every single time we come back. We are fortunate to live in an area where its nice here weather wise about 350 days of the year so playing outside is our daily ritual. My kids easily spend 6 to 8 hours a day playing outdoors. My backyard currently looks more like a day care center with all the play structures and areas I have set up for them, but what if you are not as lucky to have beautiful weather or a backyard?

Here are some tips to incorporate it into your life.

If you don’t live near a park or an area with nice weather here are some tips and ideas to experience the senses.

Plan a weekend nature walk at a nearby park or trail. Collect leaves or rocks or pine cones.

My kids LOVE going to the park or on “hikes” yes I put quotations on it because a hike with toddlers is just a longer walk in an area other than the sidewalks of your neighborhood. My daughter gets super excited when we go “hiking”. I have taught her to look at her surroundings and she will now spot snails, pine cones, squirrels, pretty flowers, etc.

Get Yourself a Water/Sand Table

Water tables are fantastic! They do not cost much and take up little space. You can use it with water or with sand. If you are tight on money, buy one used or make your own version using an old plastic under the bed container. You can set one up indoors, on a porch, patio or the garage!

Bring the outdoors in! 

No matter where you live, leaves are everywhere!  Collect some and bring them in. Have your toddlers trace them, crunch them, touch and play with them.

Embrace All The Seasons!

Lucky you if you have seasons! I live by the beach we don’t get snow here… I have to travel up an hour for it and we don’t have a ton of trees for the fall foliage, but whenever there is a slight difference in our always 75 degree and sunny weather here…. I take the kids out and we play! Yup jump in mini puddles of water, crunch leaves at the park, check out the clouds in the air.

Most importantly enjoy the outdoors regardless of the weather. Other than extreme temperatures, there really is no excuses why kids should not be allowed and encouraged to play outdoors. Embrace the cold, embrace the wind, the rain, the humidity… Just have fun and go outdoors.

Babies and Kids, Family

Toddler Modern Montessori Room

I call my toddler daughters room design “Modern Montessori”, because I feel I have incorporated many of the Montessori philosophy, but gave it a modern cute twist. Whether this is good or bad or not Montessori appropriate I really do not care, because well I love her room! Her room has become one of my favorite places in the house.

One of the biggest and best things I believe in and implemented right away when she was 11 months old was the idea of the floor bed. Montessori philosophy is all about giving children independence through movement and little restriction. When in a crib obviously for safety reason the baby needs to be restricted, but once they are able to move giving them freedom to explore and make their own decision as far as when to go to sleep is important. In a traditional toddler bed the baby still has a rail and restrictions to height. Possibly needing you their parent to put them to sleep or ask to be taken down their bed. With a floor bed, the child is free to decide when to go to their sleeping quarters and when to wake up. This decision not only give my daughter a place to mark as her own territory meaning she can go take a nap and wake up from her nap on her own. Mind you many times she still needs me to lay with her until she falls asleep.

Floor Bed

My husband built this bed for her, if you or your husband are not gifted with the art of building or know how to use tools you can try Amazon or here is one too Toddler Floor Bed. We used a twin size mattress.

As far as bedding goes. I love Pottery Barn Sheets so I splurged and bought her some. For the throw pillows and accessories I love shopping my local Marshalls and Homegoods which is where I bought hers.

Accessible Books 

I used Ikea spice racks as  book shelves and most importantly hung them low where she can access the books whenever she wants…. which is ALL THE TIME!  Her favorite book is the Bright Baby “Primeras 100 Palabras” literally brings this big book around with her everywhere!

Minimal Art

Black and white images and things that aren’t very busy are recommended… I am not too sure if this I Love You ABC counts, but I love it! It was one of my few Pinterest projects that actually turned out well! She also likes to see pictures of family meaning her nana, tata, daddy, mommy, and her dogs so I have those accessible too.

Rock-A-Boat Seesaw & Floor Mirror 

The floor mirror was something she used a lot while she was a baby. I used to lay her next to it as soon as 1 month old for floor & tummy time. The Rock-A-Boat which you can purchase here  I know it is not cheap, but for us we saw it as an investment. We are the type of parents who favor quality heirloom toys vs lots of cheap toys.  We introduced it at 11 months, but she didn’t have any interest in it though until about 16 months. The cool thing is that it acts as a stairclimber and then a rocking boat later.