This post is brought to you by My Cubby.

I was determined when I became a mum that I would not be housebound with a newborn. We went out for the first time on the day we came home from the hospital with Olivia. It was a short trip and quite hectic as we adjusted to life with a baby but gradually short trips built up to longer ones and before I knew it, Olivia and I were heading out everyday. To the shops, visiting friends and family, trips to the movies and many a lunch date.

But all this heading out and about started to have an impact. My desire to retain a sense of normality and an active lifestyle had resulted in a total lack of routine and a baby who would only sleep well in the car or pram.

So I made the decision to spend at least 1-2 days per week at home. The challenge was, how to spend those hours at home? The first few times we stayed in for the day were hard. Toys, TV and mealtimes only got us so far and then we were both BORED. The breakthrough came when I opened the door and took Olivia outside to play.

Now we spend time playing outside everyday. Whether it is five minutes in the afternoon before dinner or an hour in the morning with toys sprawled across the lawn. In our house outdoor play is generally in the front yard with Nigella (the cat).

outdoor play

Although sometimes we join Bo and Bella (the dogs) in the back.

outdoor play

Being in the fresh air has always had a calming effect on me and it seems to do the same for Olivia. She has so much to look at and explore that she just can’t do indoors. The sights, sounds and smells are heightened as she watches the birds soaring above and the ants crawling past. She rips up pieces of grass to sample and studies the twigs she picks up while rolling around.

It took me many months to realise it, but a walking a few steps to the back or front yard is still an outing, just the same as a drive to the shops is.┬áIn those early weeks and months I was so focused on filling our days with activity that I didn’t realise the gift we had right outside our door. I just wish I had discovered the gift sooner!

Mother nature (and some good urban planning) has done most of the work for you but there are a few things I think you need for good outdoor play:

1. Shade. A tree or pergola is good but if I had my way we would have a gorgeous cubby house like this one!

My Cubby Mega Triplex Cubby House

2. Slip, slop, slap. Even if you are in the shade, remember the sunscreen, hat and sun protective clothing. Insect repellent is also a good idea to keep the mozzies away.

3. Water and snacks. There is something so fun about an outdoor picnic in the backyard. I have many fond memories of “tea parties” serving jugs of fruit cup crush cordial in my cubby as a kid.

4. Toys. Keep a box of “outdoor” toys by the door and save these for when you play outside. Keep a few favourites in there and it will entice the kids to head outdoors.

5. A camera. I’m big on capturing moments with Olivia and with the natural light and nature as your backdrop you can snap some beautiful pictures.

What adventures do you get up to with your kids outdoors? What are your outdoor play essentials?

 

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