Lately I’ve been dragging my family out the door every weekend for a romp in the woods. Why? Because for the last five years of our lives, we were so caught up in domestic life that we lost our old wilderness lifestyle. We head to parks on a regular basis, but I wanted to go beyond sand and play structures and into real forest. Before kids we used to do this all the time! We strapped on our backpacks and boldly stepped into the trees without a second thought. Now we have to tuck the sunscreen, the snacks, the extra clothes, and the bandaids into bags even on a local hike.
But the rewards are tremendous. My children’s efforts to struggle up buttes are rewarded with a picnic, an incredible view, and a sense of accomplishment. In the process, we spot all sorts of wildlife. Including slugs. Trailing their silvery slime across our path, slugs may not seem like the most majestic of animals, but my children were utterly fascinated by them.
Beyond the joy of the hike itself is the sense of connection my kids can glean from the entire experience. This is why we clean with vinegar, frequent the thrift shop, and use bokashi to compost our food scraps. After all, if my kids can get excited about a wild slug, the bar is set pretty low!
A book I really would love to put into practice more in our family life is 15 Minutes Outside by Rebecca Cohen. Cohen has simple outdoor play ideas for every day of the year, in every weather, in every season to get your children outside.