As I may have mentioned, I have been reading a booked called “Last Child in the Woods”, by Richard Louv. I was hesitant to buy it because it is a very thick book, and how could somebody write that much about kids who need to play outside more (something I already felt passionate about). As a lover of the outdoors, I am not surprised when Louv links the absence of nature in the lives of today’s wired generation to some of the most disturbing childhood trends, such as, the rise in obesity, attention disorders, and depression. For me, being outdoors can be both calming and rejuvenating, so why wouldn’t that hold true for kids too. Not to mention, the outdoors being the best place for them to immerse themselves in imaginary play, just as we did as kids.
But getting outside each day is easier said than done. Our lives are busy, our weather is iffy and let’s face it, we have so much to do inside! Our kids are not of the age yet to play outside by themselves (although the back yard swing set has helped!) so getting them outside, means we need to go to. So if nothing else, I thought this book would inspire me to get outside more with the kids – and it has. I felt good about the fact that Matea gets a lot of outdoor time at school. The focus that her school puts on nature, animals & preserving the environment is something we were drawn to from the very beginning. I thought it was only fair for Dahlia to have that too. So late in the summer, I joined a hiking group that would meet for hikes once or twice a week, nearby where we live. The hikes range from casual walks along flat trails, to more challenging climbs up fairly steep terrain. So far, this has been a great opportunity for us to get to know the trails in our area and to meet new friends. I also signed the girls and I up for a toddler group that met for 4 weeks at a Nature preserve close to our home. Through this camp, we examined pond water, explored local trails and tree top canopies, collected colorful foliage and went bird watching. We are so fortunate to live in a place where like-minded people are looking for the same opportunities to explore the beautiful Pacific Northwest.