Baby Steps

I know the phrase…“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.”  I firmly believe that the children and I should be outside every day in all types of weather.  However, yesterday was one of those difficult days.

Sun, rain, snow, and slush.  Mother Nature just couldn’t make up her mind.  The worst part though was the temperature – not bitterly cold but definitely chilly.  A snow suit would have been far too warm but fall jackets were not really warm enough especially when they got wet.

It’s days like that when I take the children for a walk.  Certainly they would prefer to play in the yard but invariably at least one of them would roll around on the ground and get soaked and we would all have to come inside.  So, we walk.  We go outside and we keep moving.

Now, I face another obstacle – two toddlers.  Both the one-year-olds are capable of hiking around the block when they’re holding my hand.  The problem is that the older preschoolers find the toddler pace very slow.  With the toddlers tiny strides it takes about 40 minutes for us to get around the block – and the older children spend about 30 of those minutes just waiting for the toddlers and I  to catch up.

Some people might put the toddlers in a stroller or a wagon and head out for a longer walk – but I won’t.  We’re going for a walk, not a ride. Our outdoor time is the perfect opportunity for gross motor activities for all of us including the toddlers.

So, I started a game.  I instructed the older children to run ahead four sidewalk squares and turn around and run back to me.  It took a few tries for them to get the hang of it – we discovered that it was easier if they counted ‘lines’ (sidewalk cracks) instead of squares.

Then I increased the goal to ‘six lines’ ahead and then back to us.  The older children stomped on each line as they counted to six and then turned around and ran back.  Then they tried jumping from one line to the next before running back.  Sometimes they bent down and touched the line with their hands – so much exercise 🙂

One of the children asked if they could do ten squares next but first we tried just eight.  We all counted together as they passed each line before turning around to run back.  They came up with some interesting challenges like spinning around on each line.

Just past the half way point walk we increased the distance to ten sidewalk squares but only one of the preschoolers was still playing.  The other one was walking slowly with me and the toddlers – ‘too tired’ to keep playing the game.

One square city block on a cold and wet day and plenty of gross motor activity.

What do you think?

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