We've been going to the lake at the dog park every day, and she's been walking out to the lake, throwing sticks for the dogs, and being the happiest kid you ever saw.
|Raised by wolves.|
|Purple rubber boots- perfect for my little Violet.|
When I was pregnant and my mom told me to start walking, I did. I wanted to stay healthy and strong and comfortable. It became more and more of a compulsion to go out and be in nature. I didn't want to jog on my elliptical machine. I wanted to hike, canoe, kayak, and swim. I felt this urge as strongly as other women crave pickles and ice cream (I ate a few pickles along the way too, I'm not going to lie).
Once Violet was born, I continued walking when I could, and when she was 6 months old, I started a mom's meetup group and one of the members started a regular hiking meetup on Thursdays. Another member started a Tuesday morning outdoor playgroup. It's easy to say these are too early or it's too hard to get out of the house with kids. It's easy to say that it's not going to make that big of a difference. It's not easy to teach a toddler to have reverence for a tree or leaf. That's something that is taught over time. That's something that happens when you genuinely love nature, and you SHOW your child that you love nature. That's something that comes from letting them play in the dirt, eat the stick, taste the rock, and feel the texture of the bark on a tree. I saw Violet laughing as she ran her hands over the papery trunk of a birch today and knew all that dirt she ate went toward making something great.
For recommended reading, I am suggesting a book that so far I have just skimmed, but glad I baught. Many of the moms in my group have taken a class with Jennifer Aist, and were inspired by her assertion that getting your kids out in nature is essential. Her book, Babes in the Woods, is a staple of most Alaska moms, and relevant for any climate.
My second suggestion is for a book I haven't read yet, but is on my list and will hopefully be a book club book for us. Last Child in the Woods has inspired many moms I know to take action and get their kids outside. The premise has been described with this question, "Did you climb trees and build forts when you were a kid? Do your kids do those things?" A must read especially for parents who worry about the dangers of the outside and forget how much good is out there. Again, all that dirt my daughter has eaten has made her who she is- an awesome kid.