The wonder of the days of Christmastide are upon us! Parents are often amazed that small children who are loud, noisy, and yes, even destructive in the house can be focused, quiet and attentive in an outdoor space. Cultivating stillness, quiet and peacefulness is so important to the foundation of childhood. These are qualities all of us need as human beings! Perhaps we ever crave it and even as adults are in pursuit of it as we create beautiful works of art and music, grand architecture, and invent new things. But the roots of these grand excursions perhaps lie in the smallest and most ordinary of moments in the outdoor world from when we were young. If we close our eyes, perhaps we can remember snippets from our own childhood, being outside in all kinds of weather. How does the wind before a storm feel in your hair or on your skin? What is the sight of the clouds before it snows? What are the sounds of a meadow on a hot, hazy day? These are sensations for the soul.
So, during these twelve joyous and beautiful days of Christmastide, I invite you to come with me, where we shall spend our days connecting with nature in the forest, farm, field or stream!
In order to do this, you will need to identify your favorite local places of nature and make plans. This can be as simple as walking out your door and finding the tree you love most on your city block, or making plans to visit a State or National Park to which you have never been! Twelve joyous days of being with nature.
The second piece of this is that in many areas of the world right now, the weather can either be very hot or very cold, so thinking ahead to proper attire for the whole family will make things enjoyable for everyone. For those of you interested in forest, farm, field and stream attire for colder/wetter zones, the book “Forest Kindergartens: The Cedarsong Way” by Erin K Kenny, recommends the following specific brands for young children:
- Bogs Boots
- Jackets: Columbia Omnitech or Bugaboo
- Silk or Wool Long Underwear (I like to get mine at Green Mountain Organics)
- Rain Pants: Oakiwear, Lands End or REI rain pants
- Mittens: Gordoni or Outdoor Research brands
I would love to hear about any of your excursions into forest, field, farm or stream or your local city block. What did you see? What senses were enlivened in you and your children? Please post your thoughts or even a picture here in the comments, or on Twitter @ParentingHearth.
More tomorrow as we continue our harmonious Christmastide with the glorious Creation! Let Heaven and Nature Sing!