Thursday, March 24, 2016

outside kid.

You might have picked up on a bit of an outdoorsy motif around these parts. It's something I'm pretty passionate about--spending time outside in nature, or as close to "nature" as it gets wherever one may be.

I've always been an "outside kid." I may be clumsy and not all that brave when it comes to things from climbing trees to scaling mountains, but I've always loved just being outside and soaking up nature. My philosophy has always been, if the weather is nice and you can do what you're doing outside, then why not? I can often be found sitting on a porch step reading a book in the sunshine. In fact, I've sustained way too many sunburns that way.

Easter, circa 1989.
Some of my favorite childhood and teenage memories involve being outdoors. From bike rides and park hikes with my family to taking a paddle boat ride with one of my best friends across a huge lake to a waterfall and creek we probably were trespassing in...I have many fond memories of spending time outside growing up. Nature has a very therapeutic effect, for one thing. And spending time in it gives kids (and adults!) invaluable opportunities to learn, grow, have positive social and emotional experiences, try new things, take risks, and have adventures. I know not everyone feels this passionately about it, but I feel like we really find a piece of ourselves--and maybe peace in ourselves--when we experience the outdoors.

[Side note: check out this book and this website for more, especially pertaining to kids and nature!]

This is something I can't wait to share with, and instill in, Avery. Outdoor adventures will figure prominently in our family life and near the very top of our family's list of values. I'm going to try my darndest to raise an outside kid.

As luck would have it, spring weather is finally beginning to emerge
where we live! So, very soon, I'm going to start having ample opportunities to immerse Avery in all that is outdoorsy. I can't wait to dive into our fun in the sun (and clouds--I'm a big lover of cloudy days). So today, I'm sharing a few bits & pieces of outdoor topics and activities I've been reading up on:

///THIS soon-to-be-released book, Vitamin N: the Essential Guide to a Nature Rich Life, by Richard Louv, the author of the above mentioned book. Full of 500 suggested activities for kids and grown-ups, essays, advice, and lots of other resources, this sounds like a gold mine for the nature-lover and/or nature-loving parent. I can't wait to get my hands on this book!

///THIS essay on how it's never too late to become an outdoor kid, and on how hiking can change your life.

///Ideas for outdoor water / dirt play for little ones, like THIS, THIS, and THIS. Pinterest is, unsurprisingly, full of great ideas for outdoors play!

///The concept of "forest schools" is intriguing to me. They're mostly a European / UK concept, where a preschooler's / kindergartener's time is primarily spent outdoors, learning through play and exploration. THIS is a good brief overview on the concept, and the Children & Nature Network is another good place to look for more info. Also THIS brief post gives some simple ideas taken from forest schools to do with toddlers.

///THIS post of tips for going on a nature walk with kids is more geared toward kids older than toddlers, but I like the concept and the tips shared, nonetheless. Something to keep in mind for later.

So, those were just a few odds and ends, but I'm always looking for more tips and ideas for things to do in nature with my family. That said, it's also important to keep it simple, make as much time as possible to get outside, and just to have fun and find your outdoor adventures instead of planning everything! ;)

What are your favorite types of outdoor adventures, either on your own or with kiddos? Are you an outside kid?

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