My plan this morning was to head out to a local park and explore the woodland there. Little Man was in a fine mood and I thought he would enjoy his usual games of hide and seek and some stick play. I was, however, wrong. As usual! Once we got there Little Man had no intention of heading into the woods, the park itself was far more interesting with lots of dogs to woof at and some lovely green grass to throw himself over. There was even a wheelie bin in the middle of the path that made for a fascinating study of wheels. Being a wheel man we inevitably ended up heading back towards the car park to explore the cars. Thankfully though he spotted a log of interest that he decided looked like a great horsey and with a little bit of help from me he was soon sat on it riding into the horizon and then eating his sandwiches on it.
Once lunch was finished he played some peek a boo whilst climbing a fence and then there was a spot of mountain climbing. Suddenly he spotted some children through a gap in the hedge and before I knew it we were running after them into a walled play area full of wooden play equipment. For the first few minutes Little Man seemed to be in awe and didn’t know where to go. In fact, I think it was all a bit too much for him. You could see him being pulled in all directions and in the end he settled for a bridge with some spinning toys on them. It’s funny how he always seems to revert to playing with things that spin.
Once the playground had lost his attention it was back to the car park, his original destination, where we spent some time splashing in puddles and eyeing up a lorry that had parked up. When I say some time, I really mean a lot of time. So much time in fact that we were attracting some strange looks from many of the dog walkers who had been on their walks and come back again before we had even got half way across it. The children he had followed to the park had long gone and Little Man was well overdue for his nap. None of this seemed to bother him at all as he spent time investigating pipes, holes in the ground, wheels of cars, puddles, wooden posts and watching all those ‘woof woofs’ walk on by. To top it off, when we did finally make it back to our car he insisted on driving for a while whilst pressing every button and turning every dial he could possibly find. By the end of the morning I was exhausted but he seemed to be on super charged batteries. What had I given him for breakfast?! After a quick snack and a drink I managed to convince him it was time to climb into his car seat and we headed home where, surprise surprise, he was asleep within seconds of his head hitting his little pillow.
It always fascinates me to let Little Man take the lead. I never quite know where we will end up or what will grab his interest. It is always a little adventure. Do you ever let your little ones take the lead when you are out and about? What happens when you do? Why not give it a go and see if you end up loitering in car parks or find out if your little one has another agenda.
Leila writes a personal, nature inspired blog at Mud Marvellous Mud. She is passionate about connecting children to nature and writes about her son’s experiences as they explore together. She is trained to Forest Schools and Beach Schools level 3 and is currently studying for an Open University Open Degree.