I am a big fan of making the children play outdoors. The more I read about children and nature (Last Child in the Woods), the more I want them outside exploring! We utilize a Charlotte Mason approach to our home education experience, of which nature study is a big part. It never ceases to amaze me how when the children have the worst attitudes, argue about everything and are completely contrary, but then I send them outside for a while – their attitudes and demeanor are wholly changed by the time they come back in. God knew what He was doing when He designed such calming beauty for us to enjoy.
Yesterday was a good example. The boys had been inside playing with their Legos for a couple of hours, when I realized what a beautiful day it was outside that just begged to be thoroughly appreciated. After putting up quite a fight, the boys finally trudged outside. Since it had been such a battle, I decided to go out with them and perhaps fan a flame on their natural curiosity. Baby in the Ergo and toddler in hand, I led the way to the woods near our farmhouse. I walked into the edge of the woods where there before us lay several huge fallen trees, crossing one another. Oh here was an adventure! The boys immediately set to work building themselves forts, and brainstorming ideas for a game. The little ones played in a ditch of dirt with sticks, happy as clams. I sat back and took all in. It was a brisk, sunny autumn day. The leaves just turning, the forest floor cracking as we walked, excited voices bouncing about; it was such a wonderful scene.
Even though they do complain about the transition to going outside, saying, “There’s nothing to do out there,” or “It’s too cold,” or “We ALWAYS have to go outside;” it is truly worth it. I hope to smooth the transition, but if it never smooths out, the reward of happy, peaceful children who are excited about their adventures outside and eventually thankful to be out there is worth it all.