Mood Enhancer: Play in the Grass

Mood Grass (2)

Science has shown over and over that “green exercise” (i.e. getting outdoors for a walk) is a quick way to boost your mood and get a natural high. This is equally as true for busy parents as it is for the baby who comes along for the ride. So today’s assignment for myself and Veronika was simply to get out some place green!

Mood Grass (7)

I scoped out a local park in our new town with a trail through the woods. First, we paused on a picnic blanket together. Already she looked happy!

Mood Grass (6)

Primarily, I wanted her to feel the grass, a fantastic new sensation for babies. I dangled her toes in it for a tickly feeling.

Mood Grass (5)

Then I plucked one blade to tickle her feet and her legs.

Mood Grass (4)

She really wanted to hold the grass, but I had to be careful because she wanted to eat it!

Mood Grass (3)

Then I strapped her in the stroller and we headed off on a trail walk. I could feel the change in my own body immediately, parts I hadn’t even known were tense letting go as we listened to the leaves rustling and heard birds chirping.

Mood Grass (9)

More importantly, a little girl who had been fussy from the energy of unpacking at home loosened up.

Mood Grass (11)

There’s a Veronika smile!

Mood Grass (10)

The wonder in her eyes watching the trees overhead was worth it alone.

Mood Grass (12)

And then of course there’s the ultimate power of “green exercise”; you might just lull baby to sleep and get a real pause to yourself!

Mood Grass (14)

If you live in a more urban area, consider this activity in a local park or square. You’ll reap those same outdoor benefits, even if it’s slightly less green!

Mood Grass (13)

Backyard Bean Bags

Bean Bag Games (4)

Travis and I made these adorable homemade bean bags this morning before his first day of camp; I wanted to send him off in high spirits after quality mom and son time!

To prepare the bean bags, spoon about 1/2 cup dried beans into small zip-top bags.

Bean Bag Games (1)

Squeeze out the air and seal tightly.

Bean Bag Games (2)

Insert each bag into the toe of a small sock (or an old, longer sock that you’ve cut just above the ankle). Twist the top of the sock into a knot to tie.

Bean Bag Games (5)

These were so cute (Travis loved that they were circular instead of square like ones from the store) and have great heft. Already they were fun to play with, just tossing or juggling!

But now we needed to play with them! First we set up a classic Bean Bag Toss with buckets.

Bean Bag Games (6)

It was mommy versus Travis for a few rounds to see who could get it in!

Bean Bag Games (7)

Next up: Target Practice! I drew three different colored circles of different sizes and labeled them as worth 10, 20, and 30 points.

Bean Bag Games (9)

Travis not only loved it, but made up a new rule. If you hit this blade of grass, you were instantly out.

Bean Bag Games (10)

In the evening, we found a few more ways to play with the beanbags. First, a round of Stuck in the Mud. With this game, you run with a bean bag on your head. If it falls, you freeze in place until another person returns the bean bag to your head.

Bean Bag Games (14)

This was a highlight of our day, getting the whole family out running around in the new yard! But keeping the bean bag on our heads proved very tough, so Travis changed the rules: you simply had to pelt another player with a bean bag to make him or her It.

Bean Bag Games (15)

Luckily the bean bags are the perfect soft item for a game like this.

Bean Bag Games (17)

Soon we were all silly and rolling around in the grass.

Bean Bag Games (16)

Baby sister loved just watching!

backyard baby.JPG

As a final game, we played Tower Toppling, a riff on a classic carnival game. We only had one rinsed and empty can to play with, but will be repeating this game with a whole tower for sure!

Bean Bag Games (11)

For our game, the goal was to see who could knock over the can first.

Bean Bag Games (12)

If you have a full tower, see who can knock down all the cans with the fewest throws to declare the winner.

Bean Bag Games (13)

Any and all of these games would be fantastic with a crowd; consider them your next summer gathering, whether a barbecue, block party, or family get-together.

Update: After collecting a few bean cans, we could truly play topple the tower.

Bean Bags alt.JPG

Travis loved getting out his energy with a round of this before dinner!

Bean Bags var.JPG