17 April 2015

Outdoors



For many years the advent of Spring, with its warmer temperatures, marked a change in our rhythm.  You see for a few winters we took to hibernation, only venturing out to visit friends or do our weekly shop.  We are prone to having winters that are grey and heavy, with lots of grey cloud which brings the rain, damp cold is the very worse kind.  It gets inside you and chills you to the bone.  So when my children both reached that age where they were too heavy to be carried all day, but their legs were too short for walking about fast enough to keep me warm we virtually stopped going out in the Winter.

That time seems so recent, yet so far away now.  As the children grew I was determined to spend more of the colder months doing things outside but each time I tried something new, attempting to venture out seemed like trying to hold back the tide and when we were out all they wanted to do was go home.  I was clearly choosing the wrong activities.

I know that some people go for a walk at the same time everyday, I thought this sounded like a lovely idea.  But it just didn't work for us.  I thought perhaps if we did the same walk every week round our village, that might work?  No.  What has worked is setting aside one afternoon a week, usually the same afternoon to focus on being outside.  Going for a walk, a bike ride, birdwatching.....this year we have decided to vist the same wood every month to see how it changes through the seasons.  We did this once before, about three years ago and the children requested we did it again.  Our walks have taken us all over the place, up big hills, around lakes, through castle grounds, along rivers.  But what has been so wonderful is that we carried on doing this right through the winter without really noticing.

I know that much is written about the lack of time children spend out of doors, the lack of connection to nature.  What I always knew to be true was that the more time you spend outside the more time you want to spend, and that this would naturally lead to loving it rather than hating it.  We always fear the unknown.  So what started as a birdwatching trip once a month has turned into birdwatching every time we are out and about.  We have started to be able to spot birds by their flight and their song.  A very wet winter afternoon spent identifying trees by their winter buds has led to both children being able to identify a number of trees in this way far more reliably than I can!

I spent so much of my childhood outside.  I grew up in a town but we lived on a road with few cars, less people owned cars in the 70s, large gardens and there were lots of open spaces and tree belts nearby.  We rode bikes, built dens, cooked on fires in all weathers.  I worked outside for over ten years, all year round.  I need to spend time outside to feel recharged and connected.  

It makes my heart sing that, for now, I have found what works for us.

30 comments:

  1. Uber expensive ski passes has helped our family get over the winter blues, we have fierce grey weather, but goes unnoticed when your skiing in the fog! A price to pay, but was sure worth - winter season zoomed by ;) Sounds like you have found something that works for you, I have heard about those bone chilling winters but you sure live in a beautiful spot.
    Have a wonderful weekend xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you are right that when you are distracted you don't notice the cold. I think that is why I wasn't successful with my early ideas they weren't interesting enough so the cold was so much more noticeable.

      Delete
  2. You are right, the cold damp is the worst. I remember playing endlessly out in the snow as a child, but the wet grayness can be a different matter. Glad you have found something that works for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My children love being out in the snow which we do get a fair amount of but it doesn't always hang around for that long!

      Delete
  3. Our homeschooling days were always punctuated by dog walks, it was a great way to get my boys outdoors, but I can see that if you don't have a dog more effort is required. You are so right that the more time you spend out of doors the more time you want to spend there :o)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My local home edding friends that get our every day have a dog, it had not occurred to me that they would need to take the dog for a walk!

      Delete
  4. Yay for outside time!!! Nature time is wonderful, and whether you get it in daily, or weekly, as long as you get it in all is good. Enjoy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is wonderful, I love that it has become an important part of our week.

      Delete
  5. This is lovely having your time out doors with the children. The hardest time is the teanage years, just getting them out of bed is hard enough never mind going for a walk, but as they grow the experiences they had as children comes back and they learn to love it all again...
    Amanda xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes I am not quite sure what will happen as they get older, time will tell, I do hope I am giving them a love for the outdoors that will last a lifetime :)

      Delete
  6. That's so lovely - we try to be outside for at least some part of every day even if it's just the garden and the thing that made the difference for us this winter was investing in some really good full waterproofs for the girls; with both of them toasty warm and Pip snuggled up in the sling we used to go to the park every afternoon. We've tailed off now that it's a bit warmer and the garden's less of a quagmire but I know what you mean about being outside making you want more!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good waterproofs are essential aren't they esepcially in our British weather! We did make it to the park some days when we they were little but, despite living in a small village it is very spread out and, the park is nearly a mile from our house, a long walk for little legs!

      Delete
  7. If only more parents acknowledged the importance of being outside AND actually made the point to do it. I also think that it is important for parents, as well as children, to be active.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are right Katie, when I don't get some outdoor time in a week I feel a lot more cranky.

      Delete
  8. We are outside as much as we can, I get really restless if I am stuck in the house for a whole day. Luckily we have a dog now and I always have an excuse to get them through the door. It gets so grey in winter and I feel we have to catch the tiniest bit of daylight. I am glad you are enjoying your birdwatching and your tree spotting. So much fun. x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A dog is a good excuse, it gets you out in all weathers!

      Delete
  9. outside time is so important, my son gets noticeably cranky if we haven't done outside things for a while x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My children do too, although they would be the last to admit it!

      Delete
  10. Being outside is wonderful isn't it, and is so good for the soul. You're birdwatching sounds like such fun. We love some birdwatching here are well :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Birdwatching is fun, especially when you spot a rare or unusual one.

      Delete
  11. I spent most of my childhood on the same way, and though we had quite severe winters in the north of Scotland, we were still outside a good deal. My boys spend less time outside than I did, but not so much that it worries me, even though they have less freedom than I did- I was away up the moors lighting camp fires, cooking sausages, following the burns away up the hills ( we were taught to follow water so we didn't get lost), away for miles on my bike; all without bike helmets, mobile phones etc! Wonderful free years. X

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They were free weren't they I hope my children feel theirs were too when they are older.

      Delete
  12. Good for you. I wish I had spent more time outdoors as a child but my parents were not interested. My husband practically lived outdoors when he was young so he has taught me to appreciate and love it. We have raised our children that way, which makes me proud. I love that you're birdwatching together, it's educational and I think very impressive when people really know their birds.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How wonderful that you have been able to appreciate it as an adult having not had the experience as a child. It does show that it is never too late to learn. I hope you continue to enjoy being outside for many years to come.

      Delete
  13. love that you found the outdoor rhythm. I grew up with a dad that loved the outdoors and so I in turn have loved being outside. I was lucky to have a huge yard to be outside. So have my kids when they were growing up, they would ride bikes on a very long driveway or just dig dirt.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Having the space outside does make a difference. The road where I grew up is a mass of parked cars and a much more difficult space to play in than when I was a child. We don't have a huge amount of space for our children to play out but enough that they can and do :)

      Delete
  14. I love your approach to being outside. Listening to yourselves is the best way. I too know many that make it a "ritual" or a planned activity to be outside everyday... I am for a % of time spent out. Do we make it a point to go out everyday, even if it's just for 15 minutes, YES! But I try not to pressure us into doing it. Turning it into a task or a "job" is the best way to make everyone not want to do it. I'm so happy you have found what works for you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It does have to be heartfelt you are right, then it is meaningful :)

      Delete
  15. Watching a familiar wild place change, shift and grow over the years is something we do here as well, not only do we learn more about our immediate natural environment but it has fostered a deeper connection with it too. I love how your monthly birdwatching became an-every-time-you-go-outdoors event : )

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope the wood we are visiting will become like that to us over time :)

      Delete

Hello......would love to hear from you :)