As part of a new series, we are asking parents to write about the importance of play in their children's lives. We're proud to kick off this series with Daddy Bookins, a highly acclaimed dad blogger and children's book author. Take it away, Daddy B!
Pumpkin pies, warm apple cider, the crisp cool air along with piles of leaves in your yard – the telltale signs of fall.
Unfortunately, this excludes us desert dwellers who have been hibernating for the past five months. While the rest of you were enjoying the great outdoors, playing to your little hearts' desire… we have endured months of mind-numbing, blood-sucking, 110+ degree heat!
Welcome to the desert southwest!
The mercury is finally below the century mark, and sporadic signs of life are becoming more common than a northern spotted owl. You know what that means: It is time to let the onslaught of outdoor play begin!
I am a strong advocate of playing outdoors (shameless self-promotion – hence I wrote a children’s book about it). Easily, it is the best learning experience for a child. Nothing comes close to running around in cool soft winter rye grass, playing with worms, and learning about the birds and the bees (not in the way you think!).
The fall months present a prime opportunity to learn about the great outdoors. Everything is able to breathe and grow – it becomes the respirator of life in the desert. To a child, this is a pure delight! Magical rocks are unearthed; newfound treasures are in vast abundance. Wispy and puffy white clouds skedaddle across a crisp blue sky, becoming the perfect chalkboard for a child’s imagination to run wild. Uncovering the mysteries that lie beneath a garden, getting our hands dirty, planting an eclectic array of herbs, of course along with our standard desert succulent -- priceless!
This is the time to relinquish all fears generated from within. Bugs are cool. Dirt smells nice. And grass stains….well they come out in the wash, so parents, get over it. They are proof that your children were enjoying themselves.
I have been fortunate enough to experience the above excursions many times with my son, good and bad (trust me, there will be plenty of bad -- however the good is worth its weight in memories). It is important that he understands the environment he lives in and shares with others. He needs to feel a part of it, and not be cooped up inside some stucco plastered, air-conditioned, electronic, mesmerizing black hole of despair.
With that said, do as I learned to do with my son: Set the stage, sit back, watch with your eyes, listen with your ears….for once, just be silent as an adult and take in everything your child is doing. You will be amazed at the adventures that transpire, the bed-time discussions, and the timeless facial expressions that will forever be implanted in your memories.
You only get one chance. What are you waiting for? Get outdoors and get dirty!
Daddy Bookins is proud to announce the first book of the Peas and Bananas series, Peas and Bananas Outside with Lil Boo, an illustrated children’s book based on the creative events experienced through the eyes of Lil Boo. The events are based on exploring an array of outdoor adventures from the eyes of a toddler. Follow Lil Boo and his imaginary friend Onote from the letters A to Z in a fascinating rhyming adventure outside.
In October, proceeds from book sales go directly to St. Mary’s Food Bank. Learn more about “An Empty Tummy is An Empty Mind” Food Drive at peasandbananas.com.