The hammering of woodpeckers, creaking tree branches, rippling water, and the giggles of children are just some of the beautiful sounds that can be heard when you enjoy free play in the forest.
We are fortunate enough to live on land nourished by a bubbling creek that spreads into the woods to create a small bog. This afternoon I showed the boys how Sphagnum moss, a common bog plant, can absorb about 25 times its dry weight in water and drip like a sponge when squeezed. My oldest son was fascinated when I told him that Sphagnum moss was used (a long, long time ago) to dress battle wounds and pad cloth diapers.
“This was in diapers? That probably felt scratchy!”
Sphagnum moss is fun, but building bark boats and floating them down the brook was more up the boys’ alley! They used long sticks to clear away debris and help steer their boats down the stream.
But seeing as how my boys can be rather rambunctious, they soon moved onto climbing boulders. And . . . jumping off of them into leaves.
A daily dose of free play outside allows children to interact with their environment, builds their physical strength, and encourages them to use creativity to solve problems. Free play doesn’t have to be complex; you don’t need a forest or natural stream to enjoy it. It can be as simple as dragging a toy truck around in a sand box or playing tag with friends in the park.
How do your children like to play outside?
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