Spring has sprung in our neck of the woods, and we are already getting in gear for summer. Right now, however, we get to enjoy perfect temperatures for enjoying the outdoors (as long as allergies don’t get you, and you use some sort of mosquito repellant)! We are enjoying picnics and gardening in our backyard. Pen Elaine loves being Daddy’s helper in the garden, but sometimes we have to get creative in how an almost-2-year-old can actually be a helper.
- She absolutely loves to help water the plants, so after getting soaked every time she got to help with the watering hose, we pulled out her little plastic watering “can” that we bought for a buck at Target (and they can be found plenty of other places).
- If she just gets a little bit of watering time, then she is content to play with other things outside, like chalk.
- Another way she can help water is with a spray bottle! Pen Elaine could spend an hour spraying water all different spots around the yard – she is curious about the effect of the squirt bottle’s water on a tree trunk, on the ground, on plants, on furniture, on a brick wall, on my clothing, on her shoes, on the dirt, on chalk drawings, on the patio….the list goes on!
- Her favorite, happy surprise that can only be discovered outdoors, is blowing dandelions, of course! Every little kid loves a good dandelion to “blow” even if that really only equals spitting at it and then pulling the wispy seedlings off the stem, by hand.
- She also loves simply pointing out dandelions to my Honey or me, showing us what she’s found. This goes along with a toddler’s beloved activity, no matter where they are, labeling everything! They are building their vocabulary and, thus, love showing off their skills. So, helping Pen Elaine label birds, flowers, plants, trees, sounds of the outside, getting more specific as her vocabulary is growing (e.g., types of birds, types of flowers, different kinds of bugs). Lately, one of Pen Elaine’s favorite phrases is “What’s that sound,” “What’s that sound, Mommy/Daddy?” This question gets asked frequently outdoors since there are so many opportunities for unique sounds to be explained!
Meanwhile, my Honey is able to work his magic on his growing tomato plants, jalapenos, green beans, and marigolds.