During a change of season I am always a bit overwhelmed whether its a new school year, Christmas shopping and all those twinkle lights or springtime mud.
Everyone needs to get outside so here are 8 days of nature activities to do with your family to clear your head, no matter what environment you live in.
Day One: Look at the sky. Simple you say but how many times do you work in an office all day, commute to your job, sit in your car, play outside but never look up at the sky. Take a look. What do you see? Stars? Clouds? A jet? My daughter saw a magic carpet and a mermaid. Yes, together.
Day Two: Look down, get on your knees down low and look at the ground. Look past the concrete and other stuff and try to find the earth. Yesterday you looked up and today you look down. That is what children look at all the time, whether they are just learning to walk or running around. Get down low today and see what you have been walking on all this time.
Day Three: Smaller children can take small sticks make a little house outside for imaginary friends, animals or insects. Older children can help make a bird house or feeder or a toad home.
Day Four: Just sit outside for five minutes. Find a bench or sit on the ground but just sit. What do you hear? What do you smell? Close your eyes and meditate. If you have children, ask them to sit with you and see what they can hear. City sounds will be different than country sounds and mountain sounds. It is still a moment to hear what is happening around us.
Day Four: Throw something outside: My son loves this one. Just throw something. It can be a ball, a rock, stick or snowball. You don't have to hit something but just throw something. It feels good. Obviously make sure you don't hit someone or something.
Day Five: Take a walk. Remember those old fashioned movies when people walk after they ate a meal. Take a walk. Go outside and walk. It will clear your head. It will make those annoying little traits seem adorable again and it makes the job of doing the dishes less of a chore. Trust me on that.
Day Six: Go outside and see how long you can keep a balloon, feather, or ball up in the air. This is a good team building exercise, lets children and families work together. It is good for eye-hand coordination and gets you outside. Can also be done inside on a cold, rainy day but go outside and see how much better you will feel.
Day Seven: Try to find and identify three birds in your neighborhood. Our Adirondack bird feeder has chickadees, goldfinches, nuthatches, Sadly, the grey squirrel doesn't count.
Day Eight: Try to find three wild animals in your neighborhood: Do you have grey squirrels? Bear? We have a pine marten.
Bonus: Snow, sleet or driving rain will not keep me from sending my children outside. (Yes, extreme cold) Even for a few moments, I have them dress appropriately and at the very least run around the house twice and they can yell as loud as they wish. While they run around I make hot chocolate and let them dry off and warm up upon returning. Sometimes I join them.
©Diane Chase, excerpt from Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks: Your Four-Season Guide to Over 300 Activities (with GPS coordinates)