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With so many of our go-to summer activities canceled this summer, families are spending more time with loved ones than ever before. We know staying inside is the best way to protect yourself (and others) from coronavirus, but what do you do when you're feeling a bit of cabin fever and run out of activities for your little ones?

We asked our Instagram mamas to share their favorite outdoor activities that keep littles entertained for hours.


Here are the best outdoor activities to play with your kids, according to Instagram mamas:

1. Water table —@kris_eleven

2. Running through a water fountain —@d_bz

3. Splashing in puddles —@higmz

4. Jumping on the trampoline —@tryingtobeaminimalist

5. Tag —@_ken_zee_029

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6. Scooping up dirt —@missybam

7. Bike riding —@jenzduncan

8. Playing tag —@alanskyb

9. Chalk —@aarobbins9

10. Anything with the water hose —@theredqueen1013

11. Scooter —@l.noble_

12. Bubbles + trampolines —@liv0720

13. Playing with rocks —@jennacescon

14. Swings —@b.t.reed

15. Stare at construction vehicles —@caitlin.voegele

16. Anything active! Especially swimming —@ellie_a_fox

17. Being in the treehouse —@aatkisson

18. Stomping in puddles —@whoakenziekenz

19. Chasing the dog —@amy.knapke

20. Our swing set —@kaylaholt068

21. I've been making outdoor obstacles courses with things around the house and yard. —@sarahperry14

22. Catch! —@tasha.jace

23. Climbing —@kayleigh.paddick

24. Painting —@liannakushi

25. Sand + digging in the mud —@jnschoon

26. Bury toy dinos in a large area of dirt; it keep them busy for hours —@ashleyvrey

[This piece was originally published March, 2020. It has since been updated.]

When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.

I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.

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The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.



As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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My husband and I always talked about starting a family a few years after we were married so we could truly enjoy the “newlywed” phase. But that was over before it started. I was pregnant on our wedding day. Surprise!

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