On Going Outside


Originally published Jan 2010 – the large swarth of the US covered in snow got me thinking about this post. We’re enjoying our own snow with mini-snowmen and copious amounts of cocoa.

DSC_0003 Want to know my thoughts on outdoor play? I consider it an absolute necessity for all children (and adults!) I read a great article recently about “Nature Deficit Disorder” and couldn’t agree more with the author Richard Louv (Last Child in the Woods) that kids today are disconnected from nature and spending way too much time in front of the boob tube and computer screen. It’s an interesting conundrum for me, as a school’s technology coordinator – I’m always encouraging teacher’s to find ways to integrate technology into their curriculum, but is that sometimes at the expense of the child? The former park ranger in me wants to boot those kids out of their desks and send them into the field to collect data and THEN use the computer to interpret the results. But, I digress…

Back to my current life as chief teacher of a 2 year old…

Outdoors everyday. Even in the cold.

DSC_0071Just few minutes makes a HUGE difference in Claire’s day. Sometimes we only have enough time or for a quick walk around the driveway but even that tiny chunk of time outdoors seems to change her (and my own) outlook on the day. Maybe it’s the sunshine…but even in rain it’s fun to get out for a few minutes.

One thing I’m trying to be more conscientious about is allowing more free play outside. It’s harder to let go of the micromanaging parenting instinct outside – but at 2, Claire really seems to know how she wants to play. If that means repeatedly putting the same toe into the mud over and over again (yes, my daughter plays in puddles) so be it. I’m keeping a close eye, no one wants rocks up the nose or a stick in the eye, but for the most part Claire’s self-preservation instinct seems well intact.
Did I write that we recently canceled our cable service? It was quite liberating and we haven’t looked back. I’m finding that without TV as a constant distraction, Dan and I are better parents and the time we do spend enjoying shows via Hulu is more special. Of course I’ve developed this obsession with canceled sci-fi series (let me hang my head in shame as I admit to watching and enjoying Kyle XY). Dan and I are happily making our way through New Amsterdam and Kings at the moment.

I know that the AAP recommends zero time in front of TV for the under 2 crowd, but I find quality programming in moderation works for us. We LOVED the Baby Signing Time videos when Claire was younger and Kipper, Caillou and the ever lovable Wiggles are available on Youtube. So…if I’m truly desperate for some adult time without interruption, Claire can watch her friends online…in 8 minute increments.

Today’s wind-chill factor is finally above the “your ears and fingertips will fall off” and is simply hovering around the “freezing boogers phenomena” level. We’ve got bellies full with pumpkin pancakes and hot cocoa and are ready to explore the great outdoors! Over and Out, it’s time to play!

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