Join us as we try to create 30 days of fun memories with our kids outside EVERYDAY starting April 1st.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Can You Come Outside to Play?

Right now I have the door open and I am listening to my 3 children giggling together in our backyard.  The wind is blowing, rustling the leaves, the birds are singing, and here in North Carolina, it is a lovely 60 degrees.  All of a sudden I am 8 years old again, playing in the woods with my cousins in Cedarland.  Cedarland was our special hideaway in the woods that the grownups pretended they knew nothing about.   We created towns in the fall, where we raked out leaves to make houses and roads.  I was always the town school teacher.  In the winter we dared each other to walk in the creek with no shoes on.  In the Spring and Summer, those more adventurous than I, chose to catch and observe lizards and toads.  There were nights filled with catching lightening bugs in jars. Mud pies in the rain. Blackberries to pick that stained our already "filthy from playing outside all day" fingers. I remember this huge empty barrel we climbed inside of and rolled down the hill, and wagon races down that same hill, where we used the handle as our steering wheel.     We packed snacks and set off exploring in the woods. We brought books outside and read under trees. I directed my cousins and friends in plays outside that our parents enthusiastically watched  patiently endured.   I know it sounds idyllic, but it really was my childhood. We were sent outside after school, EVERYDAY! And all day long in the summers.  I am guessing that those of you who are my age, have very similar memories.

I have such happy memories of my childhood and playing outside, and I really want my children to have this as well.  This is why we bought our house with the big fenced in backyard  So why does it seem so hard to make sure my kids ages 6, 3, and 1 make it outside EVERYDAY? (especially the youngest).  There are lots of logistical challenges and these are things I plan on blogging about and confronting over the next month, but it really shouldn't be THAT HARD!  Should it?  I feel it is imperative for their development  and growth as a human being, I have read MANY books and blogs and articles on the subject.  We do try and play outside almost everyday, and usually we make it outside.  But still there are nights when I tuck them in and wonder where the day went?  Why they spent all day in the car or in the playroom instead of time outside.

Hence my challenge to myself and to all of you.  Let's play outside this month.  Every day. No matter the weather.  No matter how pressing our to-do list seems. Let's share fun ideas to do with our kids outside.  Tips for getting your kids to play outside WITHOUT you.  (Not all play should be structured).  Let's talk about where we play.  Share books and articles and blogs with each other.  And let's savor each and every beautiful spring day in April.  Whether it is rainy or sunny or snowy where you live, play outside. 

Can You Come Outside to Play?

*If you would like to accept the challenge to play outside EVERY DAY in the month of April, please comment on this blog post below and become a follower of this blog. .   Also share your FAVORITE place to play outside as a child. At the end of April I will ask you to post again if you met the challenge.  There will be a drawing for an Amazon Gift Card. 

*We will share ideas throughout the month of April on how to reach this goal.  We will include books and blogs about the benefits of outdoor play. If you have a book or blog you think we should highlight, please message me at daniellescribner at juno.com. 

*Each week I will also host a "Weekly Virtual Play Date."   Something that we all do in our separate locations.  On Sundays, I will add a link-up where you can share pictures and blog posts about your outdoor play that previous week, if you wish.  This isn't required.   

*For it to count, I think the playtime should be at least 30 minutes total that day.  (Although much more would be ideal). At the end of the month your child(ren) will have been outdoors at least 900 minutes! 


86 comments:

  1. We're in. Although I don't think the baby will make it the full time every day. My favorite place to play outside changed a lot because I moved around a lot. Sometimes the school playground was my most favorite. In Japan I LOVED climbing trees and playing in the warm rain.

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  2. I accept this challenge and will be trying to build up to that 30 minutes a day in the days left of March. For me, it's just a bad habit, staying indoors, because of periodic bad health. I love being outside. I would have to say climbing trees (way higher than I would let my kids climb) and riding my bike were my favorite outdoor activities as a kid. I'm hoping this will motivate me get moving and loose some weight. Riley (5) is even getting plumb in the face. We need this challenge. Thanks for thinking of, Danielle!

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  3. Yay! I'm so excited! I love to be outside with my kids though more often than not, I send them out without me. My favorite thing to do outside was ride bikes and swing!

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  4. What a fantastic idea! I would love to make this a goal for April. My favorite place outside as a kid was the swimming pool (I grew up in AZ). But beside that I loved playing at the park.

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  5. Yeah! I'm in! My favorite place to play was a right of way between my neighborhood and the one next to us. It had a creek, vines to swing from, and plenty of woods to have adventures in. I spent years of my life in those woods!

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  6. We're in! This is such a great idea!

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  7. I am so excited to have so many people on board already! Let's keep spreading the word to our friends and see who else would like to play. :)

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  8. This is great!
    My favorite place to play outdoors when I was a child was behind my grandparents' in Eufalla, OK - lots of trees and rocks and a big lake! Looking forward to taking the challenge to play outside everyday in April!
    We'll post something about this on our blog to let other people know.
    http://thekidcancook.blogspot.com

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  9. I'm in for the challenge. It may be tough with a 6 month old - but we're gonna try! My 3 year old, Henry will get out there every day at least - with me or my husband. Yay!

    Do you have a grab button to post on our blogs?

    Jamie @ hands on : as we grow

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  10. Sounds fun - just the motivation i will need to get my older two (three and two) outside once the baby (due two weeks ago) is born! We are going to try!

    sarah
    sethandsarah.blogspot.com

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  11. Love this idea!!:) We try & play outside every day too (whatever the weather) & my 2yr old loves the freedom of being out in the open! We will definitely join in with your fab challenge!

    http://sunhatswellieboots.blogspot.com/

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  13. I love this idea of getting outside everyday to play and explore nature. Sounds fun!

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  14. My favorite place to play when I was little was a playhouse my Dad made us in the backyard.

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  15. Count me in! I actually had this same idea for my own blog, but since you're doing here, I'll just link to you. Cool and slightly uncanny lol. I've been making a list of one different activity a day to make sure I have a plan (even though we might not follow it), but it doesn't hurt to be prepared. Can't wait. When I was little I didn't have a favorite place to play. I was just happy to be out there and barefoot for some reason. I miss that...

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  16. I'm in. I didn't play outside much when I was little...had a fairly overprotective mother (whom I've somehow turned into...). I am always a bit envious listening to my hubster's stories from when he grew up running free in the woods and playing everywhere. I want my kids to enjoy it too! 30 minutes, EVERY day! :D Thanks!

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  17. I'm in along with my 3 year old daughter, Savannah, and my 8 year old son, Nathen. Savannah loves to run around the backyard when Nate is at school. Good thing we just bought an unbrulla today, good for the rainy days.

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  18. We're in! We do make it out pretty much every day. It has become a basic requirement for sanity in our house. But how wonderful to link up with like-minded moms! My favorite place to play as a child was outside with you! I was a happy, enthusiastic participant in all the adventures mentioned above, among others. Childhood just wouldn't be the same without the excitement and joy of the great outdoors!

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  19. I'm excited about this! I loved playing at the park when I was a child. : )

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  20. I did not like to play outside at all when I was little. My mom would tell me to go and play and make me stay out for at least 30 minutes. I would sit on the porch until the time was up. I've tried ever since my kids were born to help them to love the outdoors. They will play with mud, sticks, soccer balls, plant in the garden, take walks, climb trees, bike...just about anything. I hope they will always love to be outside.

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  21. Sounds like a great idea... count us in!

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  22. Posted on my FB profile. : )

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  23. We're in! My favorite place to play with on my grandparents' farm. We jumped on hay bales and had a great time!

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  24. I posted this on my facebook, as well.

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  25. Great reminder...especially with travel in April!

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  26. Oh, sorry. Favorite place to play was anywhere I could pretend I was in an enchanted forest. :) Little hidey-holes under bushes, stands of trees, over a hill, etc.

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  27. I absolutely LOVE this!
    I loved climbing in trees when I was a kid. We were ALWAYS outside, years ago...

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  28. Great idea, Danielle! :) Feel free to share the sensory box I posted today! I'll share the challenge on my Facebook page too.

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  29. We're in! :)

    I'm sharing the challenge on my fb page as well.

    I loved my backyard swingset when I was little--it was my circus trapeze. ;)

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  30. Oh count me in! :-)

    when I was a kid we played a lot in a place we called the little secret forest, although there wasn't much of a forest, it was like three trees and a couple of bushes, however to us, it was the best place and we had so much fun there! We often had a picnic at our little "house" in the forest. Oh such wonderful memories!

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  31. I live in South Africa so we'll be heading into autumn / fall in April. My children have never had the choice to stay inside and 30 min is a minimum in our home. I have 4 children 4 and under so some days to have my piece of sanity they MUST go outside and play.

    My favourite childhood memories are:
    1) We lived on a big piece of land that had tractors that didn't really work and a huge barn like building made of corrugated iron and there were two huge trees on either side of it. It was 1982 and there was unrest in Zimbabwe. We would often travel around with AK47 guns trying to miss landmines along the way. So because this was a regular site we would play war type games. Sticks were our guns, one tree was our barrack and the roof of the barn was our escape route to the escape tree on the other side and the broken down tractors were our escape vehicles of course.

    2) We used to go on long hikes to what we called the balancing rocks. We would make up many games and play some traditional ones like hide and seek. These games would bond us all together and sometimes make us the greatest of enemies that resulted in a spank when we got home and told our parents.


    When my husband gets home he does at least 20-30 min of rough play outside with the boys.

    I am so in with this challenge.

    I loved those days.

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  32. Your childhood sounds lots like mine! I grew up in GA and I loved playing in the woods across from our house, catching crawdads in the Flint River creeks, and riding bikes with neither hands nor helmet down the hill. It's amazing I survived with nary a snakebite or brain injury!

    I have 4 kids: dd-10,5,4, and ds-1. This Southern belle has been challenged by a Utah winter - brrr! Looking forward to spring and missing the GA azaleas!

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  33. With 3 active boys I'm totally in! I think this is a wonderful idea! Favorite memories growing up, really revolved around playing in my parents stream down in the woods in front of their house. We loved to see the baby fish swimming around in the summer and had a blast hunting for what we considered "dinosaur bones" really cool funky looking white rocks that would be littered in the steam bed. Mornings would be fun as well because of all the wildlife prints we would fine in the wet sand by the stream's edge...racoons, coyotes, those of neighborhood pets, it was great.

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  34. here's one idea that we've done recently. I've saved a lot of boxes up for it but we have a bunch of big empty boxes that we use in the yard to stack up and then knock down. it's like playing with giant sized blocks for FREE!! the kids love it

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  35. Okay, I hesitated because it has gotten kinda cold here the past couple of days, but I am in. I'm up for the challenge. I teach preschool four days a week and have my own three young boys at home. I'll try to participate with both groups, though it is hard for us to get out with the preschoolers in the rain.

    I grew up on a farm and so we got to just go out and play without a whole lot of rules around the farm. I had an area behind the garage that I called my clubhouse where I would act out scenarios or just go to read books. I also loved to take walks, go to the pool, or visit my grandparents lake house (where we spent most of our time outside in the lake, or in the woods, or on the deck playing games).

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  36. I'm in Michigan and it is still cold up here with lots of April showers coming but we are game for this challenge!
    My favorite places to play when I was a kid was the school playground and Stoney Creek.

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  37. I'm going to try!! I'll have a newborn and I'm just not sure that 30 minutes a day will happen every day...but might as well try, right?

    My favorite thing to do outside as a kid was definitely climb trees. I hope we move somewhere that has good climbing trees so my kids can do that too!

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  38. sounds great~ I had to laugh about your comment no matter the weather. We live in Seattle! Puddle jumping is a favorite of ours.

    Growing up in West Virginia I had plenty of outdoor space. We were out the door by 8am and met at the corner. Our days would always end with a great game of spotlight. We played till the news came on! We spent thousands of hours playing in the the woods that surrounded us. We had huge pine trees in our back yard. We would climb them and then ride the outside branches to the ground. Every day I was covered in tree sap from head to toe. My Momma would be so angry for getting sap in my hair and on my clothes. I truly lived up to the nickname Monkey! :0)

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  39. I'm in, but I'll be honest...this will be a VERY difficult challenge for me. I've been quite hesitant to join. It's easy to say "no matter the weather" when 60 degrees and up is a reality in your climate on certain days. 3-4 days of snow each week with the temperature barely reaching low 40s on a good day is a reality here in Idaho and severe seasonal depression really just makes me want to climb in bed and forget I have children for the day. So we're up for the challenge, but for us, it truly will be a huge challenge, especially 30 minutes...we might freeze!! :)

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  40. Count us in! My twin girls will love it! Hopefully the weather in Missouri will cooperate! If not we'll play in the rain! Hopefully not snow like we got today!

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  41. I'm in for sure!! My favorite play outside memory was our old fish pond turned into a huge sand box. Hours of fun!

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  42. Just found your site and LOVE it. Thanks, I am definitely joining in on the outside fun in April!

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  43. We would love to participate as well! I'm adding your button to my blog!

    Kimberly @The Muddy Princess

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  44. I would love to participate in this also. My three year old and I love to play at the zoo!!!

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  45. We're in! What a great idea! My favorite place to play outdoors when I was a kid was the trees. I'd climb either a sticky sappy tree or a papery birch tree- whatever I could climb that day- and thought it was great. Now, my kids and I love to be outdoors no matter what we're doing. We'll enjoy this challenge!

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  46. Thanks so much for the challenge! After a wet and cold winter here in Italy, my little ones (5, 3, and 1) and I can't wait to spend lots of time outside! Yesterday, we had a barbecue to welcome the Spring and spent the whole day playing in our yard. I look forward to many more days like that!

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  47. we love to play outside on our playground so we ae in!

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  48. I am in... I can't say that I will enjoy it everyday, being that the last 3 days it has snowed here, but I am up for a challenge!

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  49. We are in!

    As I child I loved to play in the wild space behind our house.

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  50. I am excited & I really needed something to get me motivated. But I would LOVE suggestions on what to do in the rain. Thank you for ALWAYS inspiring me!

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  51. Sounds fun! My guys love to be outside and I did, too, as a kid - lots of fun memories with my siblings!

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  52. Love motivational carnivals! Great idea!!!

    As a child, I always enjoyed the swing set in our backyard or *trying* to train our dogs to sit and obey. :)

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  53. I am so excited to try and get my kids outside to play everyday. I'm just worried about rain days, Cause I'm not too fond of getting wet! Oh well the kids don't care! Ha, ha!

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  54. I Love your list of fun activities an d have prepared a similar list so I can stay ahead of the game. I'll be playing outside this month,as always, with my grandchildren. We'll be doing a lot of exploring the woods and looking for new plants to grow and bugs to appear. We'll also be digging in the dirt and running trucks through the tunnels and hill/Mountains that we make. My favorite place to play as a child was In the Wood lot next door, we played Tarzan, Spys, Super Heroes or Daniel Boone. I loved Climbing Trees they were my safe and contemplative spot. The Edwards From Indiana Will Join the April Fun!

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  55. What a fun and fabulous idea! We usually are outside on the sunny days, but what motivation to find something fun to do on those rainy days. Looking forward to hearing suggestions. Heading out tonight to buy my little guy some rain boots for puddle splashing.

    My favorite place to play as a child was near this little stream that used to run by our house.

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  56. This is just what we needed! We are taking the challenge and hoping the snow stays away for the next 30 days! Rain is no challenge for us here in Calgary Alberta, but I'm done with snow :)
    As a child, my favorite place to play was the river park with my cousins, or soccer in the field across from our house till the sun set.

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  57. Sign us up! My son and I do lots of outside nature exploring in Portland, OR:
    http://exploreportlandnature.wordpress.com/

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  58. Oh I love this idea!!! We're in!
    There are so many wonderful books out there. But the one I must recommend is "Last Child in the Woods" that includes the field guide in the back:)
    Thanks so much,
    ~April~
    http://www.aprilskelley.blogspot.com/

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  59. I forgot to add my favorite place as a child. Really it was the recess time when I lived in the country and attended a small school. In the days when recess was still an hour long.

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  60. Found you through "This American Momma". I am excited about this challenge!! Having a 2 year old boy is always wants to be outside, getting ideas will help :)

    Growing up we lived in Germany for awhile and my favorite outdoor activity was always during Winter. I was born a dare devil at heart so my dad would take me sledding down the tallest, bumpiest hills (which were mountains to a child's eye). Miss those care free giggles of fun and adventures!!

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  61. We are in. It's hard when your kids are all in school and busy w/homework and things but 30 min. will be a nice break for them. I have a feeling that 30 min. just won't be enough time though...

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  62. Okay, we're in! We've also just accepted the Garden Challenge @ The Homeschool Village (http://www.thehomeschoolvillage.com/2011/03/hsv-garden-challenge-link-up-1.html) so we'll be combining the two. We've just come thru a hard season of life, it's time to get back to making positive memories :)

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  63. I'm in - this fits perfectly with what I have been longing to do!

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  64. We love the idea and even more when we know our family in California will be doing it too.

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  65. Sign us up! I'm hoping the Ohio weather will cooperate for us. :) My favorite place to play outside was when we lived in Hawaii. We were always outside, riding bikes, climbing trees... Then we moved to Florida and it just wasn't the same.

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  66. We're in! Great for our family with older kids - boys ages 12 and 15! We WILL go outside for fresh air and hopefully sunshine everyday! (It helps that it is already 83 degrees today in our area of Sourthen CA.) We will even do our school work in the wild once every week! Our first April wild day is at the Huntington Library's gardens next week.

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  67. yes! Great! I only hope our temperatures go up! It's still cold here in Michigan. See you outside. ;)

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  68. Please sign us up! My three children will love this! Maybe it will bring warm weather to our Chicago spring!

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  69. I've just shared it on my Facebook page for the second time :) Forgot to tell you this morning.
    We are loving the beautiful weather God has provided this week!!

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  70. I love this! I am totally in, and my two kiddos will love it! Now hopefully we can avoid any late season snow.

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  71. We are on it! I hope we are not too late to sign up! We spent over an hr out side. We went to the playground and then after we went out back and played with cousins. They have just started their spring break so I hope to take them to the farm (my FAV spot ever) and spend a day or two there. They just love it there! So come on spring weather!!!

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  72. I'm happy to join! My kids and I qualified today by going to a park, visiting the river, planting seeds and pulling weeds. As a child, one of my favorite places to play was the sand. Rather than a sandbox, my grandpa would get a load of sand each spring and dump it. We played "bakery" and made cakes using old butter tubs in sand "white" cake, soil "chocolate" cake, and red clay (which was the most abundant) which was "cinnamon cake. Great idea! Thanks!

    Kristi
    SouthernAsBiscuits.blogspot.com

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  73. I'm in! Happy to say we played kickball today. My favorite place to play growing up was the creek!!

    Rachel H from TMoM

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  74. I am joining up today. I had a sick kid so we just spent some time in the yard, and went for a bike ride with them in the trailer. I think this will be great for us. My kids usually want to go outside, but I don't always spring for it. My favorite place to play outside as a child was by a canal that was close to our house. There was this very shallow part that was overhung with trees and was just beautiful. We would make boats out of Ppopsicle sticks and race them, or float on innertubes and one time I even caught a fish with my bare hands :). Thanks for doing this!

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  75. It poured rain here in Western Washington, and I didn't see this challenge until long after the kids were in bed, but it sounds like a good challenge for us all. Inspite of the rain- we have boots and slickers, hats and gloves. We will give the old college try! I used to like to play in the construction area of the new housing development down the street. not the safest (wouldn't let my kids...) but we had fun pretending we lived in the incomplete houses.

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  76. We're definitely in!!! My girls love to play outside and this will help us to do it more!! What a great idea!

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  77. We will join in. :) Sounds like a wonderfully fun idea.

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  78. Joining in just for fun!

    My favorite place to play as a child was under a willow tree in our backyard- the branches reached to the ground making a little fort to play in.

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  79. I love this idea! What a concept--playing outside! When I was little we were being punished, or it was 19 degrees outside when we were inside!

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  80. What a great idea! I am just starting a blog focused on learning and growing with my 2 yr old guy. He is thrilled to be able to go outside since we live in the frozen north.

    I grew up on a hobby farm, my favorite memories are of playing in our loft on a rope swing, alcatraz with the neighbor kids at night, and hugging horses in the pasture.

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