Papatūānuku offers the perfect playground for tamariki— for their bodies, their mind, senses, imagination and hearts. Nature, exactly as is, is full of possibilities. Children instinctively know this, and long to be outdoors. We just need to follow their lead and open the doors for them, so they can follow that innate urge.
Even small, simple, at-the-door-step nature is a big deal for children! They don’t need us to arrange grand outings to the postcard-worthy nature spots in order for them to have an experience. They find joy in the seemingly ordinary, because it is not ordinary for them. We forget, having seen these things more often, that they’re still new for our young ones. Nothing is really the same old, same old for them; even the 1000th stick is still exciting, because it’s the very first version of that stick.
Simple is still marvellous.
A single puddle, a solitary tree stump, a small stretch of beach— these hold so many possibilities for tamariki to immerse themselves. They can be all in with their bodies, curiosity, sense of wonder and playfulness. Seemingly simple things lead to grand opportunities because the child makes it so. Small wonders hold big joys because they see the world in that beautiful way.
Sometimes we need reminders that ordinary is ok for our children, that it doesn’t all have to be picture-perfect. The best way to come back to this truth is to see it and feel it for ourselves. All we need to do is let our children outdoors and watch them.
We’ll see how quickly they engage with their surroundings, finding ways to occupy themselves. We’ll notice that their fresh eyes lead them to fresh experiences, even in a spot they’ve visited many times before. We can relax knowing that the Earth is the perfect play partner for them, and they don’t need bigger, grander, entry ticket options. When we tune into our child in nature, we’ll see we can trust in the picture we are seeing. This is how childhood should be, and an ordinary day in an ordinary puddle is absolute perfection.