(Today at Sweetspot, there’s about how much my daughter loves the backyard.)
My daughter’s favourite activity in the backyard, after being in the backyard, is digging.
I bought her this mismatched plastic gardening set at a garage sale recently. It consists of a shovel, a watering can, a trowel, a fork, and a tool kit to carry them all around.
These brightly coloured plastic toys are all digging enablers. Except for the watering can.
Playing with the watering can follows this circular motion. Mommy or Daddy fill the can, our daughter empties it: on a plant, on the barren soil, and sometimes into the dog’s water bowl. After the can is emptied, she’ll request a refill from Mommy/Daddy. This cycle goes on forever or until she gets distracted and wants to dig.
Our tilling toddler loves digging around.
She’s constantly aerating the corners of our garden. She sits along the edge and digs away. Well, she tries to dig. She doesn’t have the dexterity or the strength to actually dig, and her plastic toys aren’t strong to break through the soil unless it’s loose or wet.
So our daughter scrapes the loose dirt with her shovels. Lately she’s been shoveling the loose dirt into her other shovels. She can entertain herself for hours minutes digging.
When she wants to get serious, we’ll hear this. “Daddy, worm, come on.” That’s the signal that she wants help to find worms. Worms are the treasures of digging. It’s like she’s playing Dig Dug and the worms are worth 500 points
When a worm is discovered, our daughter exclaims and identifies the worm. There are three types of worms: baby worms, BIG worms, and mommy worms. Baby worms are obviously the small ones. Big worms are big and you must say BIG with booming enthusiasm. I’m not sure how she defines mommy worms. I think they’re the one wearing tiny mom jeans.
Digging in the dirt results in her getting dirty. Obviously. Toddlers have the ability to get dirt everywhere and very quickly
One morning we dug for worms before daycare. She was already dressed for daycare. Five minutes later she needed a wardrobe change. Her outfit was accessorized with dirt. My wife insisted on dressing her in a clean outfit for daycare. I would have brushed the dirt off her shoulder, taken her to daycare, and hummed more lyrics to that Jay-Z song
The only bonus to getting dirty is that our daughter loves to wash her hands. Tempting her with the promise of washing her hands usually manages to get our daughter inside without a tantrum.