Whenever our niece and nephew are with us we go to a playground for a play. We don’t just stand on the outside and watch them and all the kids climbing, swinging, running, hanging etc. We get in there and climb, swing, run and hang too. Why? Because acting like a kid isn’t just for kids!
It’s INNATE for humans to do these things. But for some reason in this day and age most of us disconnect from this natural behavior as we go from adolescence, through our teens, to adulthood and there’s a noticeably large void between what children and adults should be doing in terms of movement and fun.
Well lucky for the two of us we’ve tapped into this inner desire and we absolutely love moving and playing as kids do. And we highly recommend you give it a go for yourself if you haven’t already!
When our niece visited recently for her first sleepover with us we took the chance to take her to the forest for the afternoon. We knew she’d enjoy it and we knew we would too. We didn’t need to encourage her to get her shoes off, walk barefoot, balance, climb, explore… she already had the instinct to do those things.
We didn’t need any encouragement either, we do this on a regular basis. In fact if we don’t get out in nature, totally immersed in it, at least once a week we go a little crazy and find we really crave it!
Having said that though… this visit to the forest, having a kid in tow, was even better than our usual forest explorations because we had a mega boost of imagination and creativity along for the ride. We actually saw things differently.
The bright red toadstools and the holes in the tree trunks were fairy homes (ff course though fairies don’t come out until night-time when they know humans are asleep!), we we saw signs they lived in the forest which was exciting and we talked about it, igniting our imagination. Also when we took an old pool net into the water and caught a couple of shrimp it was more exciting than usual, just watching our niece’s expression and joy in the whole experience. So even though we’re usually pretty imaginative and have fun, we had even more fun, felt even better afterwards, and used even more of imagination having a child with us. Just magical!
What we’ve realised as we’ve been spending time with our little niece and her younger brother over the last couple of years as they’ve grown through toddler and prep ages is that there’s really a simple way all adults can engage more in natural movement and play and have even more enriching and magical experiences outdoors…
By just following a kid around for a few hours.
That’s it. Seriously!
Watch them; you’ll notice they run around a bit, they get excited by ‘small’ discoveries, they explore their surroundings with enthusiasm, they hop, jump and skip, they climb and hang from things, they crawl around on their hands and knees.. all of which are natural human movements – for any age of existence, not just for adolescents.
Watch their behaviour and learn from it. Use it so you can have just as much fun and benefit as they do!
Notice another thing while you watch them move around.. they’re having fun aren’t they? Life’s usual big dramas don’t seem to affect them. They have a more relaxed and happy attitude. They use their imagination. Then compare these to how you spend most of your day.. worrying about bills, feeling sad about the world news in the media, walking and driving places in a hurry, spending time in stressful environments and around stressed people getting yourself even more stressed.
The kid way sounds better doesn’t it?!
Even just spending a few minutes barefoot on the ground closing your eyes and breathing deeply can be incredibly relaxing and rejuvenating to the mind and body. So imagine how much benefit you’ll get from bringing in play, imagination, creativity, exploration, climbing, hanging, running, crawling… all of those things kids just do naturally.
Surely by now you’re getting our drift! Child-like play and movement may seem only suitable for children because of our attitude and perception in this modern time. But it doesn’t mean it’s accurate and how we’re meant to live!
So if you’re a little out of practice and would like to get back to being a kid but as an adult then take our advice…
head to a forest or any other huge chunk of nature you can find, kick the shoes off, walk barefoot, explore, use your imagination, climb a tree, explore a creek or rock pool, notice your surroundings and let your inner child guide you.
Don’t over-think it.
It’ll come to you 🙂
Clint & Aimee
5 things we’re grateful for:
1. spending time in nature
2. exploring creeks
3. barefoot in the dirt
4. having forests and beaches so close to where we live
5. spending time with our niece and nephew and playing