There’s a heck of a lot of pressure on parents to entertain their kids, to be ‘creative’ and ‘fun’, and ‘make memories’. While I don’t think there is anything wrong with thinking outside the box and giving your child some wonderful experiences in life, always bear in mind that with really little kids – LESS IS MORE. You don’t have to set foot outside your front door in order for your under 2’s to have a great time. In our case, we went out the back door!
We are blessed to own a home with a very big backyard. All that space was one of the reasons that we bought our house. Our house is on a sort of wedge-shaped section, so that the front yard is reasonably small, but expands the further back you go. Most people turn up to our house and think it’s pretty modest until they see the view of the backyard from our kitchen and their jaws start to drop.
Sausage is now 16 months old and has recently started walking. She’s gaining more confidence by the day, but is still rather wobbly on her pins. As we’ve started to move into the colder months, her wibble-wobble-walking highlighted the fact that learning to walk over Autumn/Winter is a pain in the butt. Cold, wet ground makes for a mucky child. But I believe children should be given the chance to get outside as much as possible and have therefore invested in several pairs of waterproof pants (I sourced some great trousers with polar-fleece lining from T&T clothing, and also found some at my local riverside market) so Sausage can fall over and muck about in the dirt to her heart’s content.
Sausage goes to playgroup two times a week, and a music group one day a week so I like for her afternoons and non-activity days to be low-key whenever possible. If you ever feel lots of parent guilt about staying at home remember these two things:
- Home is the most awesome place on earth for under 2’s. It’s safe, familiar and not over-stimulating.
- Most people can’t remember a damn thing about their life before the age of three (and even then, a lot of our memories are dependent on the photos our doting parents took…). Your under 2 will simply not remember (in the long term) staying at home to play in the backyard a lot. Nor will they remember the many times you schlepped them all over the place to do cool stuff.
Sausage had a blast playing in our backyard this afternoon and was quite absorbed for an hour and a half. That’s like, 15 years in toddler time. The soft, uneven grass was challenging for her to walk on, but cushioned her multiple falls much better than the wooden floorboards in our house. We picked and ate apples off one of our trees.
She played with water dripping from a tap I’d turned on for her until her fingers started to get wrinkly.
She squished a few rotting feijoas on the ground from our enormous tree that produced waaaay more fruit than we could harvest in time.
If you are lucky enough to have a backyard, it will be the scene of wonder, magic and fun for many years to come. Rejoice that fancy toys are not required. For under 2’s you have to do little more than turn on a tap and point them in the direction of a nice pile of squishy dirt to keep them happy. If only us adults could be that easily amused!