A friend of mine sends her son to a Forest Kindergarten (for preschoolers) here in Chattanooga. I love this concept and that one of their governing rules is that there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing choices.
Anyways, the kindergarten is located in Lookout Valley which is a little too far of a drive for me to commit to, but I found that I kept turning the concept over in my mind. We want our boys to love the outdoors and I think that so much learning and imagination happens when you are not hindered by toys – we love toys and electronics, but we also want natural landscapes to play a part in our kid's upbringing.
So, I came up with this idea that there was no reason we couldn't try to spend a little bit of every day (regardless of the weather) outside. We live on an acre of wooded land that features rocky outcroppings; the playground across the street has woods with trails; we live one street over from a natural area with two additional miles of trails; and Signal Mountain and the greater Chattanooga area boasts tons of things to do outside. We can do this!
I mentioned my plan to Daniel and then we set out to make it happen.
The month of January was a tricky one. Temperatures ranged from the teens (in the south, that is cold!) to days in the 60s. There was rain and fog and sleet and snow. But there were also days with plenty of sunshine.
Did we succeed? Truth be told we did not get outside every day, but 22 days out of 31 we managed to spend at least an hour outside.
We went on hikes as a family to Sunset Rock and Mushroom Rock. We played in the snow. We discovered secret forts. We played on playgrounds with friends. We went on neighborhood walks and bike rides. And Jack spent a lot of time with his daddy playing on our property.
Isaac did not spent quite as many days outside, but at least half of the month we had him outdoors with us.
Both of our boys developed eczema on their hands from the cold, so we are trying to balance healing their hands with our desire for outdoor play. This goal of mine is a fluid one, but I hope that we will continue to get outside as much as we can this year.
And on the days we can't get out, we will look out our windows and dream of warmer days.