It's been a while since I've had the chance to read some meaningful non-fiction. Last week, I was given Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv. This book seeks to identify and repair the weakened bond between children and nature. The benefits of this are intellectual, psychological and physical, and affect the well being of both child and adult. I`m only a few chapters in and I`m very excited about making actions like Green Hour (time for unstructured play and interaction with the natural world) a reality for our family everyday.
Now I know for some of you, this will seem like common sense advice. In the spring and summer we naturally want to spend as much time outside as possible. However, Canadian prairie winters are long, and extremely cold. It can be a challenge to spend enough time outdoors in the dead of it - and sometimes down right dangerous. For those of you who haven`t experienced it, we have many -30 C (-22 F) days, and as low as -40 C (-40 F) with the windchill days. Skin will freeze exposed within minutes. This sounds drastic, but schools stay open, everyone continues to go to work, and we just keep indoors as much as possible as we go about our day. However, on the many winter days that hover in the teens and twenties, dressing warmly allows us to experience the beautiful crystal winters that define the season. Building snow forts, igloos, skating on the river, snowshoeing, outdoor hockey, cross country skiing, winter hiking and snowmobiling are things to look forward to. I admit, we usually only do a few of these things, and keep it inside the rest of the time. The concept of one green hour a day is challenging me to re-think how we can take a fresh look at nature in wintertime, learn from it and enjoy the beautiful environment we live in.
I feel motivated to share our families winter world with you this coming season as we make green hour a part of our day. If you`re looking to re-acquaint your family with nature on a daily basis, read Last Child in the Woods with me!