Summer notes from Kodiak - While in Kodiak over the summer, I've been trying to get interest from other parents to create an outdoor play/hiking group. I've encountered a little resistance that has surprised me... "We'd love to... as long as it is nice outside." Why does this surprise me? Kodiak is an island community prone to wind and rain. I assumed that parents and kids were a little more hearty (they quite possibly are and I just haven't met them yet because they're already outdoors having fun. We've only been here a few weeks), and would take their kids out because they may not get our for a while if they wait for that perfect day. Having lived in Anchorage through record rainfall and snow years, we've come to accept the weather for what it is and deal with it. A sunny day is just that much more appreciated. Here in Kodiak if the skies open up for a few hours people know to take advantage of it!
We've come against this resistance before with our hiking group in Anchorage, but gradually parents have become more confident in their skills in preparing the whole gang for warm, comfortable and dry fun in all kinds of weather. Much of that thanks goes to our dear friend and author Jennifer Aist through her book Babes in the Woods and the classes and clinics she puts on for families (even if you aren't in Alaska, your group or organization can book her to do presentations!). There also happens to be a global movement to connect and reconnect children with the outdoors. This movement has largely been spurred on by the author Richard Louv and his books LAST CHILD IN THE WOODS: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, and most recently, THE NATURE PRINCIPLE: Human Restoration and the End of Nature-Deficit Disorder.
Why is taking your kids out in cold or inclement weather important and actually healthy for them? Oh the reasons are numerous:
Now of course there are limits to what we will expose ourselves, an more importantly our children to. Those limits are different for every family, but it is important for us to not let a little rain or cold get in the way of our time outdoors. We'd miss out on so much wonder and opportunity if we did!
*please forgive the typos... this was written in a fury of a few quite moments, often typed with one hand while I've nursed an infant, or by miracle of miracles... both kids napped at the same time. The idea has been banging around my beaner for a couple of days now.