The Truth Behind the Scar: A Story of Two C-sections

Aside from marrying the person of her dreams, almost every woman fantasizes and looks forward to the day they get to carry & give birth to their very own baby. It’s a scary thing, but it’s something all of us women think about. And most of us dream and pray about. Ever since I became a big sister when I was 5 years old, I knew I wanted to be a momma.

When you picture “the scene” of yourself giving birth what do you see? I know for me I pictured me laying in a hospital bed, legs up, doctor down below telling me it’s time to push. My husband is up by my head coaching me and encouraging me every step of the way. Our few closest family members in the room [our moms and my sisters-my SIL included :)]. I would’ve tried going all natural but don’t know if I would’ve lasted. And then it happens. I help pull my baby out. My hubby cuts the cord and our baby was born and here on this earth. Everyone watching and crying with happiness as they witness this miracle of life. So perfect, right? It was my “perfect” scenario. I had watched two of my cousins give birth and that’s how they went. It was so amazing to watch and be apart of. I couldn’t wait to be on the other side of it.

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But that’s not how it all happened. My first pregnancy was fairly un-complicated. I was considered “high-risk” about halfway through because my amniotic fluid was measuring low.

I went in about 1-2 times a week after that to get it checked. Hoping it didn’t get too low to the point of the doctors having to deliver her. One morning I began to have small contractions. My fluid was still okay and I was about 38 weeks on the dot. I was considered full-term at this point and was safe to deliver at any time. Due to the fact that she was breech, they decided to admit me and scheduled my c-section. She had been breech for weeks now and never flipped. For those of you who may not know, the term “breech” basically means that the baby’s feet are pointed down instead of the head. Head down is the ideal position for a smooth vaginal delivery. Considering the fact that I’m just a petite person, my doctor did not recommend a vaginal delivery.

Not gonna lie- I was crushed.

I had always pictured things going a certain way and all of the sudden everything changed. And I was terrified. Surgery scared me. Especially being awake during a surgery. I wasn’t going to be able to help pull my baby out. I was so upset that wouldn’t get to hold my girl right after she was born [which I was only half wrong about]. I just felt cheated out of the whole experience.

I just want to quickly note that I might be smiling in all of these pictures but I was so hangry and extremely thirsty. I wasn’t able to eat for almost 24 hours because homegirl decided it was time to come out! Not even ice chips y’all! It was rough.

The surgery overall went very smoothly. The only part that really blew was getting the epidural. They had to poke me with that 50 foot long needle like 3 times because I kept tensing up when they tried to numb me. If you will soon go through this surgery the best advice I can give you is to TRY and relax. It’s extremely hard [I know], but it will go by so much faster if you just take a few deep, long breaths when they do this. Focus on your breathing, not the pain. So much easier said than done, but once I was able to relax, it was over and I couldn’t feel the bottom half of my body [which is a good thing]. The rest of the surgery went by super fast & without any complications. I got to see my girl for a few short seconds. Enough to take a picture with her, before they took her away. She wasn’t breathing when she came out and was turning a purple color. The doctors and nurses were able to get her breathing and everything was smooth sailing after that.

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I’m gonna jump ahead a bit to my second pregnancy…now this c-section was expected. I had already had the surgery before and the risks of having a vaginal delivery after c-section were a little TOO risky for me, so I was more accepting to the surgery the second go-round. But this pregnancy was extremely complicated and scary. You can read about it more in detail on my little man’s inspiring NICU story. Long story short, I got pregnant while I had an IUD in place. My water broke when I was 27 weeks and I carried my son to 29 weeks when an infection in my body forced me to deliver him immediately.

That was super shortened, but you can see it was very stressful and much different than my first surgery. I was having serious and painful contractions this time. Whereas the first time, I never even went into active labor. I’m not kidding about the painful contractions. They were intense. The numbing part of the surgery went by much faster this time and only took the doctors once to get it injected. To top it off, ya know as if the surgery isn’t enough, they had to search for my IUD after they delivered my son. So I stayed in surgery for another hour while they looked for this darn thing! Which sucked because all I could think about was my son. Who was being rushed into the NICU. I only got to see him for a couple seconds, if that. I couldn’t hold him or touch him because your arms have to be strapped down so you’re not tempted to touch what the doctors are cutting open. That’s the best way I can describe it- it just sucked.

What makes me sad is that because my second was an emergency c-section, we didn’t get to capture any “happy” moments before he was born. And there wasn’t any time to take a family picture immediately after he was born. He had to be rushed to the NICU as soon as possible. But here’s the first picture I got with my little warrior…

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So now kind of going back and tying my experiences together, I have a huge take-away from it all….

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The scar.

My little tummy smile 🙂

I look at it everyday and remember what I went through. The weeks of recovery. The pain. The stress and anxiety. To this day I still am not able to do things I once could. Upward facing dog? Forget about it. That part of me just don’t stretch like it used to. But you know what? I look at that scar and think…I would do it ALL. OVER. AGAIN. and AGAIN. and AGAIN. Just to see these beautiful faces every day.

Have you ever heard someone say, “It’s not about the wedding, it’s about the marriage” ? Well it’s not about the delivery. It’s about the life that comes after it. The life or lives you created.

Momma, remember that you are strong. Just because you weren’t able to push your baby out of you like those other awesome mommas do, doesn’t mean you’re not just as much a champion. And you know what’s cool? We have a scar to look at and remind us of just how awesome we are! I’m blessed to be apart of this community of mommas & I pray for ALL of you!

As always, God Bless †

Brittany

P.S. Do any of you c-section mommas have a scar tattoo? I’m seriously thinking about getting one in the future & I would love to see yours or hear what you have in the comments! 🙂

 

Fun Easter Traditions to Start with Your Family

EASTER IS ALMOST HERE! Let us celebrate the reason for the season- our Almighty God & His only begotten son! This time of year always fills my heart with so much joy, it’s overflowing. Easter is my second favorite holiday of the year- Christmas being the 1st :). Mostly because we get to rejoice in the realization the He has risen from the dead after making the ultimate sacrifice for all of us. But also because it truly brings families together. Holding traditions is such a precious and simple way to spend quality time with your families. Seize these moments as they probably don’t come along very often in the midst of our busy and chaotic lives.

Being a relatively new and young family ourselves, sometimes it’s hard to start our own traditions. I’ve come up with a list of really fun traditions you can start doing with your family tomorrow on this joyous day!

Coloring eggs

I believe most families include this in their Easter traditions some way or another. Probably a “given”, but so much fun! Even if you don’t have kids, this is a great way to get everyone together and get those creative juices going. I like to boil the eggs the night before and have the kids color them on Easter. There are so many ways you can do these, it’s crazy! I found this really fun way to color eggs with shaving cream and food coloring by The Crafty Morning blog that looks so fun. And it’s a great sensory activity for the kiddos if you’re wanting to stray away from the typical store bought egg coloring kits. I also found some ADORABLE decorating ideas for older kiddos and adults on the Homesteading blog! From glitter eggs to mini flower holders, they have 32 super creative ideas. Go check them out!

Easter Morning Church Service

The best way you can start your Easter festivities to wake up, get dressed up in your flowery dress & ironed polos and praise the One who made it all possible! Easter services are always to fun, too. My family and I attend Baptist churches where praise and worship are held at the beginning of each service. It’s so fun and uplifting to praise Him and lift up His name on this glorious morning in particular. Everyone is so happy and each heart is filled with the Holy Spirit, you can just feel it! A wonderful tradition to start if you are religious.

Take Pictures

Taking pictures is probably my favorite hobby. I am ALWAYS taking pictures of EVERYTHING. Just ask my husband. I’m always looking for a good photo op. What better time than when everyone is dressed up in their spiffy Easter outfits?! These do not have to be taken by a professional. But capture the moments. Take a picture of your kiddos with their Easter baskets full of eggs every year and see how they grow. They always say, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” But I say, “A picture holds a thousand memories.” They are so special to have and I encourage all of you to never stop snapping those pics! We started this tradition for Paislee’s first Easter. We actually got professional ones done that year by the wonderful Olguta with Oh My Goddard Photography [I highly recommend her if you’re in the San Diego area, she takes beautiful pictures!] and last year just took some ourselves. But, c’mon! Look how adorable! Such sweet pictures I will always love and hold dear.

Paislee’s 1st Easter

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Noah’s 1st Easter, & 1st of us as a family of four

Have a Picnic & Easter Egg Hunt

Easter is usually paired with some beautiful weather, so take advantage of it! Find a nice park around your neighborhood, or even the beach and have yourself a picnic! This would be a perfect time to talk & laugh with your family while the kiddos go on an Easter egg hunt. My family does do an annual Easter egg hunt at the house, but I think a picnic would be so much fun. Enjoying the sun, letting the kids play and just soaking up that quality time. Pack some finger sandwiches, fruit, and maybe some mimosas and you’ve got yourself a low-key Easter brunch on the lawn! How perfect.

Dinner & The Passion

This is one that I would love to start this year with my family. It will probably just be me and my husband watching it since our babies are still really little. But I think it’s so important to remember the reason we celebrate this day. I know a lot of families like to make a ham and all the yummy fixins that go along with it. After your tummies are full and happy, what a wonderful way to end the day by watching The Passion of the Christ. An amazing illustration of the purest love we will ever experience. Watching the story of Jesus unfold is something I will never get tired of. It makes me cry every time. I’ve just bought it on iTunes and can’t wait to watch it with my family tomorrow 🙂

I hope you can start some of these traditions with your family & I pray that you all have a beautiful Easter 🙏🏻

And as always, God Bless †

Brittany

 

Fun Indoor Activities for Those Cold & Rainy Days

I thought “Sunny California” was supposed to be sunny all the time! Recently, we have been getting some showers in the area and my kiddos have been going stir-crazy. About 90% of their time is spent outdoors everyday. Which is great until its too cold and rainy to go outside! I’ve been having to think outside of the box to keep them entertained without sticking them in front of the T.V. all day long. I mean, let’s face it, most people like to just cuddle up on the couch and watch their favorite shows or movies when it’s raining out. While I’ll admit it’s a good excuse [I’ve done it a time or two 🙂], it’s just not healthy for our little ones to be glued to the screen all day. So here are a few of the things I have done that have kept them busy, and most important of all, HAPPY!

SENSORY PLAY

Photos property of Dogtags, Dolls & Dinosaurs

Kinetic sand is the favorite at the moment in our house! It is so amazing. I could play with it all day long! It’s also great because it doesn’t make a huge mess! I like to hide little toy animals in it sometimes and the kids love looking for them. Great use of those fine motor skills too! If you have been reading along with my mommy posts, you might catch on that I’m all for activities that aid in my children’s development too. It’s great practice & it’s fun! I found ours at target but I found it a couple bucks cheaper on Amazon! They also have the purple sand here that’s a bit more expensive. They are basically the same just have slightly different textures and consistencies. Keeps my littles busy for awhile! And you can try anything similar. Play-doh, slime, silly putty, etc. We even have some homemade “sensory bins” that you can fill with just about anything- beans, cotton balls, water, rice, you name it!

TAKE A BATH

Photos property of Dogtags, Dolls & Dinosaurs

I have never met a little kid who did not like to take a bath! It helps to pass the time and it’s super fun for them to enjoy! Add some bubbles, color tablets, bath crayons or paint, basic bath toys and baby dolls! I literally get all of this stuff on Amazon! It’s great and gets here in just two days! Let them practice washing their dolls bodies. Let them paint their bodies! Or add some water beads in there! So, so fun!!

MAKE A FORT

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Photos property of Dogtags, Dolls & Dinosaurs

We had such a blast doing this the other day. Me and daddy even joined in on the fun! I used to build forts all the time with I was a kid and it was a joy watching my kiddos enjoy it so much. We kept it up all day long and they loved it. We just happened to have purchased new car seats for the kids and had a couple of big boxes in our garage, so I made full use out of them! Grab a few blankets, couch cushions, pillows, anything is up for grabs! You could even use the mattresses on the kids’ beds. I wish I would have thought of that! Would have been perfect!

HAVE A PICNIC

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Photo property of Dogtags, Dolls, & Dinosaurs

Who said picnics are solely for the outdoors and pretty parks and beaches? We had quite the little tea party right in the comfort of our home. Make snack time or lunch time fun by laying an old blanket out and serving those scrumptious PB & J’s on your living room floor. Or pretend, like we did, and take advantage of that play kitchen your kids don’t seem to play with so much. It provides y’all some unforgettable bonding time!!

DANCE PARTY

Photos property of Dogtags, Dolls & Dinosaurs

This is probably my favorite! Growing up my dad would always play some 90’s country and me and my sisters would jam out for hours. Now I watch my kiddos dance around and it brings back beautiful memories. We try to do this on a nightly basis, but it’s also perfect for a rainy day when you’re stuck inside. Turn on your favorite music and share it with your babies! They’re getting some sensory input, using some gross motor skills and creating memories with you! Crank up that Disney song and rock out!

These are just a few of my favorite things to do with my kids. There are tons of creative indoor activities you can find out there. I love these specifically because they allow you to bond and create sweet memories with your littles. Rainy days give me such a lazy mindset, but just because there’s water falling from the sky doesn’t give my kiddos any less energy! Keep all of your days fun and engaging, your kids will remember it someday! 🙂

How to Teach Your 2-year-old to Regulate Their Emotions

There seems to be no rhyme or reason for the many tantrums I witness on a daily basis. I’m sure most of you mommas and daddies out there can relate! The “terrible twos” are in full force in the Hodges abode. Feet are kicking and stomping. Voices are raising and screaming. And boundaries are being pushed out of frustration from the endless reminders to share all the toys! It’s madness!

I have learned SO MUCH about emotional regulation from my years in college, being a momma and my experience with children with special needs. Some of these tips, tricks and exercises you probably have heard of before but I have some fun twists to go along with them! Makes it more engaging for the kiddos and they really respond well to it!

DEEPS BREATHS

So we have all heard that deep breathing helps your body and mind to calm down when you are feeling angry, upset, anxious, you name it! Just taking three deep breaths can completely change your mood and slow your heart rate down back to normal. Ever tried doing this with a 2 year old? Yeah, it’s not so easy. To make it more playful, throw some pretend play in there! If you notice your toddler is beginning to escalate, make a “bowl” or “cup” with your hands. Tell them you just made some soup and need some helping cooling it down. Or pretend you are blowing out a candle. There are endless possibilities here! Use that beautiful imagination of yours! 🙂

PUSH THE WALL

These are a great way to get some healthy pressure on those muscles and create a calming sensation on the body. Stand by any wall, put your hands up against it as if you were going to do a push-up. And start pushing! You can make it fun and silly by trying to “move” the wall and act like your actually moving it! This is great to use if you’re trying to get them to sit for a book reading or maybe before bedtime, snack/meal time as well!

SILLY PUTTY

Another great way to get some deep muscle movement. Using their hands to sculpt, twist and shape the potty is amazing sensory input! And it keeps them focused on something. It doesn’t have to be silly putty. It can be play-doh, homemade slime, kinetic sand, anything similar!

Check out my favorite homemade slime recipe!! You can get any color glitter, too! So fun and lasts a long time! 🙂

COUNT TO TEN

So simple right? Maybe too simple?? It can definitely work in the right circumstance. Or sing the ABC’s. I’ve tried this with my clients and my littles and you’d be amazed how distracting it can be and engaging. It might not be the best thing if your kiddo is in a full-fledged tantrum. Maybe try taking deep breaths or try my next tip….

FEELINGS CHART

There are so many variations of feelings charts out there. I would honestly just recommend making your own! I think it’s easier for younger kiddos to identify what they’re feeling with visuals. Maybe try to snap some pictures of basic emotions you observe them displaying [happy, sad, mad, tired]. Print out the photos and write the emotion next to the picture in big bold letters. Of course a 2-year-old won’t be able to read it but eventually they will begin to learn the words next to the pictures. When you see them getting angry or sad, refer them to the chart. Ask them how they are feeling. Usually you know how they are feeling [mom’s have that sixth sense], but this exercise is for them to identify their feelings. So when they begin to cry when mommy or daddy goes to work, they know that means they are sad. As they get older you can add on more complex emotions like “hungry”, “lonely”, or “anxious”. I’m currently working on mine right now and will post pictures once I have them all captured and put together!

Also for older kiddos, around age 3-4 and up you could start to introduce the Zones of Regulation created by Leah M. Kuypers.

This is a gold mine. Children are able to learn emotions by associating them with a certain color. Schools and other child development centers and therapists use this everywhere.

REPLACEMENT BEHAVIORS

Some of the tips I’ve given so far can be used as, what is ABA therapists call them, replacement behaviors. The definition is basically in the name- an appropriate behavior that is functionally replaceable to an inappropriate behavior. When your children get older, it will no longer be socially acceptable for them to lie down and begin to stomp their feet and throw a tantrum when things don’t go their way [let’s be real it’s never “acceptable”, but more understandable when you’re a toddler]. So we must teach them these replacement behaviors! There are many creative ways we can do this! Instead of punching a wall or lashing out at someone near them in a physical way, redirect them to hitting a pillow or give them a ball to kick really hard. It still provides the same stimulation without resulting in harm to people or property around them.

Different things work for different kiddos. You just gotta find what calms your little one down. And it’s not all negative behaviors necessarily. They could just have a lot of wiggles and giggles and they need to get them out! Instead of them constantly trying to seek attention by banging on things or terrorizing your house, turn on some music and dance it out! Or take them outside and have a race! Seriously there are so many possibilities and you can be creative with these! I truly hope these help if you have an emotional and wild little one!

Are there any other things you do that help that I haven’t mentioned?? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to try them out!

MARCH with Us

It’s that time of the year again! No, not Christmas sillies….March for Babies time! It is an organization very near and dear to our hearts. Since our little Noah man was born 11 weeks early, his team in the NICU treated us like we were the most important people on the planet. Our social worker introduced us to March of Dimes and gave us a pamphlet that described what the organization was and how they help families just like us.

We “marched” last year for the first time. It was a really serene experience for me as a momma of a preemie. After we were finally able to take our bub home, I was so stressed out all the time. Worried if he was breathing. Struggling to breastfeed. Not happy with my body and just really having a hard time all around. But then I started my own team on the March for Babies website and started fundraising. It felt so good once I reached my goal! And to know that all of that money was going towards research to help little miracles like ours filled my heart with so much warmth and joy.

We had t-shirts made and they were so sweet. We don’t have any family out here in California, but we were able to have some of our sweet friends come and walk/run with us. The walk was so beautiful and peaceful. It really was a type of closure for me that I needed. Holding my sweet baby in my arms, walking by the ocean, and surrounded by other sweet babies and their families who went through a similar situation as us was very uplifting. Families come together and it feels as if we are all family. It’s a one of a kind experience that I would suggest any family who has gone through the NICU to do at least once.

This year, I’ve been a little off my fundraising game! I’m a tad late starting it going, but I have put Noah’s team page together! This year I’ve raised our goal a little bit as I would like to contribute more to the cause! Please feel free to share the team page and get others to donate if you feel it in your heart! You can click here to get to Noah’s team page and donate and/or join our team and walk with us! If you are in the area of course! It would mean the world to us for whoever donates or walks with us. We are so blessed to have our little miracle and we will walk every year that we can to celebrate his precious life and the God who make it possible!

You can read Noah’s NICU story here

If you want to learn more about the organization you can visit their website and learn why people march and how you can make a difference for these babies and their families!

13 Months

Have you ever thought about how ironic it is that the things we don’t plan are still planned out? God makes things happen in our life just in the right time and place that He sees fit.

I. Am. A. Planner.

Ask anybody who knows me. I can go with the flow as long as I can see where we are flowing. I make to-do lists for myself almost on a daily basis. If it’s possible to plan something out months ahead of time, I will do it. Ironic how military life is the total opposite, right? Try to plan anything out ahead of time if your spouse is in the military and let me know how that goes for ya! It’s almost impossible. But we make do!

Knowing this, you might be shocked to find out that neither of my pregnancies were planned. If you’ve been following along and reading my previous posts, I found out I was pregnant with Paislee two days after I graduated college! And seven months after she was born, we were surprised again with our Noah. Both the biggest blessings of my entire life, besides the hunk that helped me make ’em ;). But pretty scary right? For anyone who has been or is currently in a similar situation, let me assure you, it WILL be okay. It’s challenging, but it is very doable.

 

During one of my sessions last week with a client, I was talking with their momma and we were getting to know each other a bit. She asked me about my kids and how old they were and I watched as her eyes grew bigger and mouth gaping when I told her I had a 1 and a 2 year old. This is the typical reaction I get when I explain that my littles are only 13 months apart. And I totally get it. It definitely was not how I planned to have our kiddos. But there are a few things I want to share with you mommas that are like me. That have your babies close together on accident, or even on purpose. Some women want to have their babies close and it’s great! Here’s what I’ve learned so far, and excuse my bluntness but I’m keepin’ it real y’all…

Two surgeries are rough

I can’t speak on behalf of the awesome ladies that have done natural, vaginal deliveries because I had a cesarean with both kids. One being an emergency c-section. I knew that having a c-section with my first that the rest of my pregnancies would be delivered the same way. A v-back [or vaginal birth after c-section] was an option for my little guy until it got complicated toward the end. Having two c-sections so close together took a huge toll on my body. It has been a year and 5 months since my last surgery and I still feel pain and dont’ feel quite like my self. THIS ISN’T THE CASE FOR EVERYONE. Please know that. Don’t take my experience as the one and only. It has been a hard recovery for me and I will probably feel it for a long time.

Plus the mental state you have to be in just to have the surgery. I mean a big needle in your back and your insides being all exposed….you gotta mentally prepare yourself. Plus the disappointment of not being able to hold your baby right after they are born. That was the hardest part for me [your arms have to be strapped down]. You can most certainly request immediate skin-to-skin though after they deliver your baby. Even though both of my pregnancies were classified as “complicated” I was able to get some brief skin-to-skin after they were born and I got to kiss their little heads before the doctors had to do their thing. I follow an instagram, @bumpbabyandco , and they show some very real and honest pictures of women during the labor process, birthing experience and everything thereafter. One picture in particular, featured below, that just shows the rawness and realness of the entire experience in my opinion. I so wish I had a picture like this of myself just as a reminder of what it was like. You can visit the post here. Again, this isn’t to scare anyone, I just want to share my experiences.

Photo credit: Lemonade Lane x

NO, my babies are not twins

Although it feels that way sometimes because they are so close, no they are not twins. People ask us this all the time. Yes, they look alike and you can totally tell that they are siblings, but it’s pretty obvious that Noah is younger than Paislee. Maybe it’s easier for me to distinguish the characteristics because they are my kids, but I guess y’all can tell me what you think!

They are a a little younger in this pic than they are now, and looking back at it I guess I don’t blame people for making that accusation! They’re pretty identical!

There are so many diapers

You think one baby/toddler goes through a lot of diapers?! Double it. Costco for the win! Luckily, we are at the point now where they are both in the same size. Hallelujah! It was rough there for awhile. Paying for double the diapers AND formula. Talk about breaking the bank. Our oldest is slowly transitioning to full-on potty training. So hopefully only diapers for one soon!! Pray for us please!

And the last thing that I will share with you all about having your babies so close together is…

They will be best friends

I feel like this was the thing I heard the most when I was pregnant with Noah. And they weren’t lying. They already play so nicely together. They’ve started fighting nicely together too. Siblings fight no matter how close or far apart they are. I was the oldest of the two other sisters. They were very close in age too [about 14 months]. There was a 5-6 year difference between me and them. They were always so close growing up and apart of me was a little envious of that. I have a wonderful relationship with both of my sisters and wouldn’t change any of our lives, but I’m so blessed that our children will have that relationship as well. They could possibly even be in the same grade! How crazy is that?!

 

I wouldn’t call these things “pros” and “cons”. I see my kids and everything that comes along with them as blessings. I would go through any kind of pain, lose as much sleep through the teething and growing spurts, and sacrifice anything I might want in order to provide them with what they need. It wasn’t in my “plan”. But was in His. And who can argue with that? 🙂

God Bless!

Brittany

Why I Keep My Kids Active

Ask about any child in elementary school what their favorite subject or class in school is. Nine times out of ten they will say recess or P.E. Most children LOVE to be outdoors. They get to socialize with their friends, play sports they like or some just like the fresh air. These are just some of the reasons I like to keep my littles active!

Luckily my kiddos love to play outside. Honestly, some days that’s all they do is play outside. And I think it’s so great. Playing outdoors and being active has so many benefits!

According to a study conducted at the University of Missouri in 2010, outside play has a huge impact on brain development. AND it can start as early as three months old! It helps with the development of baby’s senses and [fine and gross] motor development. I see this ALL THE TIME working as an ABA [Applied Behavior Analysis] therapist. I help teach my clients so many things through play. Play therapy is best thing, in my opinion. Helping children identify different senses of the body and playing socially with their peers is all apart of it! What kiddos might think is a super fun game of hopscotch is also a great way to work on those gross motor skills! I’m all about learning while having fun!

In the study they also pointed out that in addition to brain development, outdoor play helps increase children’s creativity and imagination as well! Playing pretend and running from the dragons to save the princess! Who doesn’t remember playing that when they were little?! So many other things- coordination, spatial awareness, learning abilities, increased blood flow, and countless other benefits are associated with outdoor play! You can visit and read the full study here. I highly suggest reading this! It has great ideas on outdoor play activities you can incorporate in your day-to-day routine with your littles and it’s very educating!

The study gives you awesome ideas, and I might have some of the same but here are a list of outdoor play activities I like to do with my kiddos:

  • Bubbles [I was at Wal-mart yesterday and they have A TON of bubble toys for super cheap!]
  • Chalk or chalk paint [amazon is my go-to for these, or Costco!]
    • You can draw roads and play with cars
    • Hopscotch
    • Practice writing or drawing shapes
  • Trampoline [sometimes I do my workouts around the trampoline while the kids jump]
    • Put water and bubbles on for some water play
    • Put balls on the trampoline for some sensory fun
  • Water play [lots of different ideas for this one]
    • Sprinklers
    • Kiddie pool [you can get these super cheap at Wal-mart]
    • Water buckets or water play tables [you can fill these up with bubbles and bath toys even]
    • Water beads [not gonna lie, these are fun for kids and adults!]
    • Slip-n-slides for older kids
    • Water guns [if your kiddo doesn’t like to get sprayed you could make some DIY targets and put them around your backyard and make it a game to see who can get the most points!]
  • Tag or hide-n-seek [would be fun to play somewhere out in the community or neighborhood if you don’t have a lot of hiding options in your yard]
  • Park [this is a big one for us and PERFECT for socializing with other peers]
  • Go for a walk or hike/ ride bikes or scooters
  • Ball play
    • For older kiddos- dodgeball, football, softball, basketball, etc.
    • For younger kiddos- rolling the ball, kicking the ball, bouncing, throwing, etc.
  • Dog park/beach
  • Beach/Lake
  • Building sandcastles
    • If you have really little ones you can bring along your kiddie pool and fill it with sand or water
    • Dig a big hole
  • Camping
  • Pick some flowers, search for sticks, pinecones, and rocks for painting [or make fairy wands!]
  • Make a fairy garden
  • Plant some flowers
  • If you get a group together to split one, you can have movie night in your backyard! Make popcorn, hand out glowsticks and watch a fun film!

The last thing I will add and some advice that I will give out from my experience is….LET THEM GET DIRTY! Let them play in the mud. And join them! Make some mudpies [actual mudpies not poop] with them. Let them experience that sensory input! It’s so good and healthy for them. A little dirt don’t hurt nobody 😉