Posts Tagged ‘outside in all weather’

Year long nature challenge

Thanks to a fitbit that my sister gave me and a desire to “walk the talk,” I have decided to start a nature challenge.  My goal is to go outside for a minimum of 30 minutes every day, for a year.  Ideally, this will be active time outside – walking, hiking, snowshoeing – but I’m also hoping to take some time to reflect on my experience.  I’m also going to try to blog about it as I go.  I don’t promise that I’m going to do a great job at it, but I’m going to try.

Finally, I’m going to try to make sure that I do as much of this as possible with my son.  As you no doubt can tell, he loves being outside and has a great time with it.  Along the way, I will tell you about where we went and what we did and what made it easier (or could have made it easier).  I hope you enjoy it.

With that in mind, today we went skating in Calgary’s Bowness Park.  The park has been closed for ages, having been hit hard by the 2013 Calgary Flood, but it’s back in business and better than ever.  The new tea house (which isn’t open for tea yet) has a great bit deck out front with gas fireplaces – a wonderful spot to sit and put on your skates!  I’ll be honest, I would have been happy just to hang out by the fire and relax, but it seemed like a good idea to at least do a few laps of the pond.  The ice is a little bumpy (isn’t all outdoor ice?) but it’s a very kid friendly spot – people watch where they’re going and there aren’t any hockey games.  Don’t get me wrong, I like hockey, but it doesn’t mix well with teaching your kid to skate.

Our son and his new friend also discovered that the shore is a great spot to find but chunks of broken ice – a pretty cool diversion when you’re six.  He would have played for hours, making forts and throwing snowballs but us adults were getting a bit bored.  Next time, we will bring folding chairs and a thermos of hot chocolate and just let the kids play.

Most communities have some kind of outdoor rink.  It’s an easy, inexpensive way of having a bit of outdoor fun as a family.  Such a nice fun afternoon!

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What to do on a rainy day

Looks to be pouring outside today.  This spring has been typical of the past few here in Alberta – wet, wet, wet.

Way too often, we think of rainy days as the time to get indoors and watch tv (actually, that seems to be one of the default activities regardless).  With the proper clothing, you can get outdoors in all weather and explore, play and splash in puddles.  Now, I don’t want anyone rushing out and buying the rain gear that would allow them to be outdoors for a three week expedition at sea.  That’s overkill.  But, if you and your kids have rain pants, a rain jacket and rubber boots (probably about $40 worth of stuff each), you’ll be all set for short trips outdoors in the rain (or for a week long canoe trip).

So, what do you do when you get out there.

First – make sure that you spend at least a few minutes jumping in puddles and enjoying the water splashing up.

Then, you can set up cups to see how much rain is falling.  You had talk about where rain comes from (the water cycle) and imagine where it’s going.

Play a bit in the puddles – let your kids touch them, maybe dig some channels in the mud if you’re near mud and watch where the water flows.  Float sticks down a river (assuming that it’s not flowing too quickly).

Make sure that you get good and wet, sing some songs about rain (it’s raining, it’s storming is a personal favourite of mine), and dancing a bit.  Play tag, laugh a lot and make sure that you go inside when the first one of you starts getting cold.  That way it will still be fun next time!