Welcome to the May Carnival of Natural Parenting: Growing in the Outdoors
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared how they encourage their children to connect with nature and dig in the dirt. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
Over on Code Name mama, there is a monthly carnival of natural parenting.
This months theme is about "Growing in the outdoors"
My daughter is now 10 and I wanted to share how the 'outdoors' has featured in our lives as a family.
For starters we live in a beautiful part of the world - what could be better than rural England? For all we complain about this green and pleasant land I wouldn't have it any other way.
Our home is surrounded by fields, trees, hills and there is even an idyllic stream - safe enough to paddle in.
As a baby we would take our daughter out in a sling wherever we went - so much easier and more practical than a buggy. It meant she was close to us which ensured her happiness and it gave us so much more freedom as parents.
One of our first walks was up our local hill to see the sunset. I have beautiful memories of that time when we would visit at around her bedtime and I'd nurse her to sleep while watching the sun go down.
As a toddler one of her first words was 'tatoes!' which she exclaimed as we dug into the earth searching for edible treasures. I remember her in a rain suit, steering her metal wheelbarrow in businesslike fashion with gusto along the paths grabbing all the potatoes she could find and happily eating them for tea.
As a pre-schooler she attended a Steiner kindergarten. Here the emphasis was on the seasons and outdoor play took place no matter what the weather. It concerns me that schools don't let children out when it's raining, close when it's snowing and don't let children climb trees in case they fall.
And talking of climbing trees, what better way to learn about your body? In our garden anything goes and DD has learned a lot about her body through climbing, falling, swinging and giggling her way through the giddying heights of tree tops.
Most of our homeschooling took place outdoors. Every day we'd go for a nature walk. We once did an entire term's project on the potato - it involved everything from sowing to tending to eating with a trip to the supermarket to compare quality and taste...
Often my daughter will climb the tree and have what she calls 'a moment'. It's a sacred time of bliss when something magical happens, when she totally connects with the Universe or converses with Mother Nature (the trees talk in our garden I'll have you know) and I've seen her cry with pleasure from it all.
Now she has an ipod (groan) and I admit I have to drag her outdoors sometimes, luring her away from the enticing Angry Birds, but invariably at the end of every day we use a walk through the country as a way to build bridges. The pre-teen years can be fraught with emotion, but this is our way of unwinding.
We visit horses, paddle in the stream, pick weeds for the rabbit and share things about our day. As she grows up and finds her independence, nature is a wonderful backdrop for us to reconnect and share some quality time as a family.
My daughter tells me she is going to live in a forest when she grows up, in a shall shed with lots of cats. So I think a love of nature is definitely still within her.
As for me, I find the pull of the outdoors gets stronger as I get older. As my life leads me more and more into the internet, my soul cries out for more connection with the Earth. My challenge at the moment is to balance both aspects of my life. I'd love to hear how you achieve this.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be live and updated by afternoon May 10 with all the carnival links.)