Nature entertains

We had a lovely weekend of almost summer-like temperatures.  We took every opportunity to get outdoors and enjoy it while we could.  The little ones stopped by several times to check the garden and play in the field.  As I was watching them I realized how much money we, as a society, waste on toys and things to entertain the children when they don’t need it at all.  Nature will grab their attention every time.  Today it was a wooly bear that “popped” on my grandson which he found hysterical, but his mother was grossed out by it and sent him packing to wash his hands.  Saturday it was a praying mantis.

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Hours went by without a complaint or argument between them, other than needing a water bottle refilled often.  Dandelions have been renamed “wish berries”.  You must make a wish then blow the seeds every where, after which the wish is revealed to all in hearing distance. They were mesmerized by the bees on the wildflowers,  They explained to me that we plant the flowers to give the bees nectar so they don’t go hungry and in return they give us honey so we can be healthy. And what child isn’t drawn to a large rock?   The praying mantis was the first one I spotted this year.  It was busy eating bugs around the compost.  The children had never seen one before and sat for a good half hour in one spot watching it stalk its prey.  I was shocked to see how long they could sit quietly watching a bug.


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I have received more cardboard boxes from the neighboring business to use in the garden.  The little ones commandeer them for a day or two then happily remove the tape, knowing it isn’t good for the garden and break down the boxes for me as their way of helping.  If there is one “toy” every child seems to love it’s a nice sturdy box.

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While still in one piece a box can be a house, a train, a car, boat, and even a cradle for dolls.   Of course there are breaks from the cardboard to dig up rocks from the ground or practice balancing….and then it’s’ back to the boxes for more fun.

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Another source of fun is dirt, or in this case compost.  I never have to worry about turning the compost as they love digging in it and turning it over to see which scraps haven’t decomposed yet.  They are always surprised by how quickly the scraps disappear. The walk up the walkway has to be done creatively, you can’t just walk.  In this case a hula hoop proved to be an entertaining way to approach the field.  And while dirt will hold the attention of one, another needs breaks to sit down and create some art, of course the dirt calls and she quickly returns to help turn the bed.

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And then it’s back to the cardboard, with a small break to clean the headlights on mom’s car.  An attachment to a vacuum cleaner has been my grandson’s favorite thing to play with now for almost 2 years.

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Can you believe there is still more fun to be had with the cardboard? I received another box while they were playing and that brought out more ideas.  It was great fun to break down the box and see that if they ran real fast the cardboard would “fly”.

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There was one toy that they took outside each day and that is a hula hoop I have here still from when I was able to use it for exercise.  It’s no wonder from the fun they have with this why it continues to sell.

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There you have a weekend of fun through the eyes of a child.


What is free, or in many cases things we see as trash can be a lot more fun than toys.  Above all, nature will entertain better than anything you can buy.


Do you still listen to your inner child?



44 thoughts on “Nature entertains

  1. I look forward to your weekends ever since I stumbled in your blog a couple of months ago. They are awesome! There is always something interesting going on in your household and it is just so alive. I am a little jealous. I hope to get more infected by your enthusiasm so I can have my own version of authentic and touching stories to tell. Keep it up. :)

  2. As you know Lois, The cardboard boxes I have share before with you, and they are a winner every time.. Now that hoola-hoop was one of my own favourites when I was younger.. I remember doing the hoola dance to the tune of ‘Lets Twist Again’ LOL,,,
    Lovely photos of your little ones having Great Fun… And not a IPad in sight LOL ;-)

      • Wish I could say the same for my Granddaughter as that is what her parents are choosing to by at Christmas!.. Sigh! … Age 3! But It will be nature and hands on skills when she visits me :-)

        • There is a place for iPads I guess. I am so far behind in what I can do with a computer compared to my sons who grew up in the computer age. My youngest granddaughter has seen a tablet (not Apple) from early on because it is a tool her dad uses in his job. She is allowed some access to it for educational games, but she too enjoys more active play activities and asks very seldom to use the tablet.

  3. Thank you, Lois. That’s the second time you’ve made me smile, after a difficult day. :-)

    I’ve found that everything is more fun, with a child. I love how Beanie just stops and notices the smallest things, taking it all in. She’s been painting pictures at school, of places in our apartment complex, and that makes me smile.

    • I’m glad I brought a smile to your day, sorry you needed cheering up in the first place though.

      Yes, children are wonderful for reminding us of the things we forgot to pay attention to. I credit my grandchildren with keeping me young.

      I’m glad to hear Beanie has embraced her new home so easily her transition seems to have gone so smoothly through your move. Children are more resilient than we may think aren’t they?

    • Wendy, I cheat. :-) I have an app on my phone called PhotoGrid. I downloaded it for free and it’s very easy to use. You simply open the app which shows you all the pictures you have saved on the cell phone. Then all you do is click the ones you want to include. It gives you options on layout and such, then I simply save it and email it to my inbox.

        • LOL well you can try this then. If you go to my before and after page and like that look, it’s from a free download online called Smilebox. What it is, is a card making software. You can drag over any pictures already on your computer to the stock forms and then type in any words you want to use as the caption. I cheat often because I’m not really all that computer savvy.

  4. Thank you for a lovely visit and enjoyable playtime with your grandchildren. Brought me back to times I spent with my grandson…painting, admiring nature and inventing so many things with boxes!! Pat introduced you to me after seeing a post I submitted on Tears to Smiles how my grandson moved me to smiles…the tears were just from chronic pain but his visit moved me; the photo you see is him looking at me…whatta guy! and it was a day I received a thank you from a youth our service counselled for years. Such a blessed Canadian Thanksgiving weekend I had and your post extended it. Thanks again, Oliana

    • I was just leaving a comment on Tears to smiles. I was very moved by your simple words to convey the love you have and also the carefree childhood that as a society our children no longer enjoy. I think boxes are the most versatile thing ever invented whether played with by children, cats, used for storage or to build my raised garden beds, but it is watching the little ones playing with them that gives me the most entertainment. I am glad you have the memories of that time with your grandson as well.

  5. I love this, Lois. You’re so blessed your grandchildren have retained the innocence, imagination and curiosity of youth. I suspect you have a lot to do with that in stirring their creativity. No wonder they love to be with grandma. The joy, love and happiness is written all over their faces as they play.

  6. So very nice to see kids playing outside, using their imagination, getting dirty and enjoying nature! I used to tell my boys–“The dirtier you get the more fun you have!” My fondest memories as a child are creating mud pies in the back yard and making up variety shows to “entertain” the neighbors. I’m sure your neighbors would enjoy a little show put on by your grandchildren!

    • Lil, I haven’t heard of children playing with mud pies in a very long time, parents seem to want to avoid having to clean the children up. Your boys were so lucky to have learned such a good lesson from you. My oldest as a teen went mud sliding one day then tried to hide the evidence by washing his clothes. Problem was he clogged up the washing machine from the mud and grass. :-) After that he had to hose off outside.

      Variety shows, do kids even know what those are now? I may have to spark that idea in the little ones and see what they come up with.

  7. lovely. very.

    and so nice they have parents and a grandma who are not afraid to see the children play in dirt/get dirty.

    so, did the kids ever make not of what bugs they could actually see in the compost? I noted the cricket, but was wondering myself what other bugs were attracted? (besides worms, of course). (if they didn’t take note, maybe it would please them if you mentioned to them that one of your readers was curious if they could check it out?)

    • At the moment they aren’t all that concerned with all the names of bugs, they did need to know the name of the praying mantis as it was unique to them in its appearance. My sons played in dirt and grew up being told it was healthy for them. Since they rarely ever got sick it is ingrained in them that dirt is good for the children. It did take their mother a bit of time to get used to her daughter playing in dirt as she wanted her little girl to be clean and pretty all the time, now she just shakes her head and lets the little one be. Of course watching her bury herself in a pile of peat moss or crawl through the potato patch and dig through every inch to find all the potatoes which left dirt everywhere, including under her clothes has helped mom to see it’s a losing battle to keep her clean.

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