Parenting Green: Winter Curiosity & Outdoor Play

Winter Nature Play

I am always amazed at how the kids tend to be the ones to notice the pulse of our natural world through their curiosity. It’s how discovery happens! We just have to bring them to the opportunity and they will certainly find it. — What are some of the ways your family stays connected to nature within the limits of winter?

I love the adage, ‘there is no bad weather, just bad clothing.’ especially this time of year when the winter winds and flakes can make you feel like it’s not worth the fight to get bundled. What’s your strategy for getting the kids geared up before the inner heat you’ve created sends your minds to a boiling point!? Sometimes I don’t get the process down so wisely. I feel like if our coat area was set up more like a firehouse station, we might gear up and get out…it’s always a back and forth with finding gloves, the hat, and which door the snow pants are hanging up at. Keeping myself from getting overheated helps me have more patience in that process. Luckily we have a screened in porch so I can send the bundled baby and big kids out once they have their gear on, and they can wait there until I get winterized.

It was really about the commitment the other day when the idea to go outside in the falling snow came over the living room where free play was happening. There was no pressure of schedule to follow, we didn’t have to be anywhere at any particular time. We knew that the need for physical activity was necessary and that being outside was always welcomed and enjoyed once we got there. Somehow we kept the momentum going even with the resistance voiced by the happily engaged big kids. I think that’s where the commitment came in. We had a vision, and we didn’t waver. We wanted to go for a walk in the trails at the Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary in Easthampton. There were plenty of natural trails and a lookout tower that we could climb. It would be fun… Read the rest of this entry »

Parenting Green: Rebuilding Nature Awareness

Hurry up and Wait

Bask in your surroundings this summer and reconnect with nature and your family! (Photo credit: Angie Gregory)

From one thing to the next, in the car seat, out of the car seat, at the camp, off the bus, in the car, out the door, in the building, out the store, off the playground, at the table, to the party, and then…. on the beach. The best summer moment my family has had yet this year was exploring a new swimming spot at the convergence of two rivers, with rocks to jump off and tiny rapids and pools with frogs and craw fish to catch.  We spent over four hours absorbed in this small section of river, and it felt so real!

Ironically enough, I picked up a book while rushing around during the day. Stopping quickly at the library, between diaper deliveries with my nine year old, I spotted it… Tom Brown’s Field Guide to Nature and Survival for Children.  Though what I thought I was picking it up for was not what I ended up getting out of it, which was how to re-build nature awareness.  Tom Brown’s advice as to the best way to accomplish this… really get into your surroundings and bask in it with your kids!

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