Monday, 9 February 2009

The Great Outdoors

Today was one of those days I had to absolutely force myself to get all three of us bundled up and out into the fresh winter air. Despite the blue skies and sunshine, I was feeling chilled to the bone. Somehow, snuggling on my quilt covered couch with my fingers wrapped around a warm mug of tea seemed more appealing!

With two energetic boys bouncing off my walls (literally), it was imperative for this lazy mama to get off her bottom and out the door. As a bonus, I figured I would get a little wear out of my much loved “lifestyle hat”. As usual, once outside, my energy was renewed. The little ones and I went on a nature walk and scavenger hunt to gather supplies for afternoon crafting activities. These little guys never cease to amaze me with their remarkable memories and their ability to retain mountains of information. As Chi-Chi meandered through the brush, he readily identified alder catkins, wild rose hips and spruce cones. We all had a ball following the deer track trails and the boys absolutely delighted in identifying the plentiful amount of bunny and deer poop. Boys will be boys is all I can say! Luckily they agreed that bunny poop was probably not appropriate for our collage box.

Just over a year ago I read Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv. I really connected with the message in this book and keep it in the back of my mind on these lazy winter days when I would much rather hibernate than venture out into the great outdoors. Louv emphasizes the importance of teaching our children about the natural world in their own backyards. I consider myself fairly knowledgeable about the trees, plants and animals that share our land with us. I have my parents to thank for this. My sister and I grew up in a home where nature was a focus. At an early age, we learned to identify the beautiful wildflowers on our walks down the “country road”. We took a keen interest in the sea creatures that lived on the shores nearby. The family’s plentiful supply of nature books was always on hand when we were stumped by a new discovery. Needless to say, I won’t be relying on the public school system to educate my children in this area. I’m hoping that by allowing the little ones to explore our property freely, they take an interest in their plant and animal friends and will learn to appreciate and respect the natural world. Our nature walks have also served as a great “refresher” course for Mommy!

After warming our toes by the woodstove with a creamy cup of hot chocolate, we whipped up a batch of flour and water paste and sorted through our “treasures”. Chi-Chi was most proud of a special seedpod he discovered that appeared to have been pecked or nibbled by a hungry critter.

So, our outing was definitely worth the effort. I am, however, back on the couch, quilts tucked around me, tea in hand!

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