Several years ago, my husband and I sat down to determine how to best prioritize our time and money. After identifying that we highly valued playing in God’s country, it was easy to spend money on a nice set of bikes for our family while choosing to drive 10 year old cars.

This morning we donned our winter wear and hit the mountain for a few hours on skis with our children, ages four and seven. This is a typical day for our family.

On several days a week throughout the year, you will find us out in nature on our bikes, kayaking, hiking, camping, snowshoeing or skiing. The kids call it fun – I call it therapy.

Richard Louv may focus his efforts on getting children into nature, but I believe the benefits are just as great for those of us adults that stare at big and little screens all day.

“When a child is out in nature, all the senses get activated. He is immersed in something bigger than himself, rather than focusing narrowly on one thing, such as a computer screen. He’s seeing, hearing, touching, even tasting.
Out in nature, a child’s brain has the chance to rejuvenate, so the next time he has to focus and pay attention, perhaps in school, he’ll do better…But even if kids don’t have any of the specific problems mentioned above, kids who don’t get out much lack the sense of wonder that only nature can provide.”
– Richard Louv, from an interview with Scholastic

It doesn’t take courage or boundary breaking.  The family that plays outside might look like this:

• Exploring a new trail or nature park every Saturday morning
• Eating a picnic dinner at a local lake or river, while the kids throw sticks in the water and the sun sets
• Throw caution to the wind and camp. In a tent. Where there are dirt and bugs (oh my!). Or take it one step at a time and camp in the backyard.

Maybe that sense of wonder we so often attribute to children can be renewed in ourselves if we just go play outside.

Visit me at Mommy Goes Green for more resources, books, and ways to use technology to get your family back into nature.

Tell me friends, how does your family play outside?