As I look at my 2 under 2, their faces caked in dirt, I realize that my kids are the dirty kids.
Why are they Dirty?
They are dirty because they play outdoors.
Every single day, (weather-permitting) I take them outside to play. In part to give this mama a break, but mostly to let them run off some of that boundless toddler energy, and to discover new things.
Benefits of Outdoor Play
I grew up playing outdoors, and I want my children to have those same experiences.
The world has changed so much in the past 30 years, with smartphones and tablets, and children growing up as technology natives, but nature remains unchanged. Grass and trees, dirt and leaves are still the same. Acorns still fall from the oak trees, and a garden hose is still used to create mud pies and a water fountain.
It does not matter what they play. All that matters is that they are up and moving.
My 23-month-old races up and down the driveway in his Dory car. His 11-month old sister perfects her walking abilities by ambling back and forth across the driveway and front yard. She only stops moving long enough to pick up interesting rocks, acorns, and leaves. Next, her treasures are fully examined in her chubby baby hands before going either into her mouth (much to mom’s dismay) or tossed back onto the ground.
Don’t worry if your kids are the “dirty” kids. A little dirt never hurt anyone.
I would much rather my kids go outside and make messes and new discoveries, than stay inside, pristine and clean.
My childhood was memorable, not because I played the latest video games or watched the best cartoons, but because I played outside with my two sisters. We had so much fun outdoors. Riding our bikes, swimming, playing catch, jumping on the trampoline, playing with the barn cats, crossing the cow pasture to climb up our treehouse. Even now, 25 years later, those memories remain and make me smile.
So, as I look at my 2 under 2, my “dirty” kids, with dirt on their arms and legs and cheeks, I am not upset. I’m glad that they can play outdoors and discover nature, just as I did when I was little.
As we prepare to meet Daddy for lunch, I will wipe them clean with a warm rag and dab a little lotion on them to cover up the smell of the outdoors, because there is not time for a proper bath.
But I know tomorrow we will go outside once more, making memories, making messes, and making new discoveries.
Readers: Are your kids “dirty” kids too? Do you let them play outdoors often?