Outdoors

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There are so many benefits to being outdoors it’s hard to contain it into one small post. We know the health benefits of getting our Vitamin D by soaking up the sun’s rays. We often can feel the mental rewards by a change in our attitude once we have breathed in some fresh air. I know when I”m feeling overwhelmed by my day, a nice walk outside does me a world of good. It can do the same for our children.

I saw a lovely little video on my facebook feed this morning that discusses benefits of getting outside and hiking. One fact that was new to me, was the benefit of improved creativity and problem solving skills. I think we could all benefit from that, and it wasn’t a small increase either. We are talking a 50% increase in their problem solving abilities. That’s amazing! Being outdoors changes your brain in positive ways.

“Never be indoors when you can rightly be without.”-Charlotte Mason 
Charlotte Mason encourages 4-6 hours a day of outdoor time for the youngest of learners. While we don’t meet that mark on a daily basis, I do agree that this allows children to have a quiet growing time. Often technology takes over our lives much too easily. While I think technology provides so many benefits, it is hard to escape from it. I often feel frustrated just trying to eat a meal at a restaurant without several TV’s blaring across the room.  I love to pack up a simple lunch and eat it at the park.
Our family has bonded a great deal this last year over trying our hand with kayaking and paddle boarding. We have all learned patience, persistence and balance in the process. We have laughed and have found a great peace at being out on the lake with the stillness of the water. We have also enjoyed outdoor adventures at many of the State Parks  when we go camping. Some of our favorites have been Fall Creek Falls, Interstate Breaks Park and Santee State Park.
Being outdoors provides endless opportunities for learning. We can observe wildlife and the clouds passing the sky. This often slows us down a bit and gives us time for reflection. This can be really beneficial for impulsive children and helps us become more attentive. Being outside wards off depression and can help us have a positive mental outlook. I love how spending time outdoors, camping or hiking, helps me reconnect with myself. I feel more at peace and relaxed, and can be a more patient person as a result.
We bought some started plants for our garden yesterday. So off I go to plant some herbs with the kids and spend some time outdoors. What do you like to do outdoors? What benefits has it brought your family?

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3 thoughts on “Outdoors”

  1. What a lovely post! So many benefits with the outdoors! I cannot agree more on increased problem solving capability. We were once out in the woods on an island during our vacation. We, along with a bunch of teenagers accidentally crossed and went over the restricted area. While we were panicking, the kids actually pondered so thoughtfully that they made us get out. They used the direction of sun and the sound of the waves to make us get to the right path. That was real problem solving! Thank you for sharing some great points here!

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  2. I’m in the midst of reading a lot about forest schools (and doing something of the like at home with my children) and from everything I’ve read and experienced first hand, I couldn’t agree more with what you’ve said! Over the summer we’re going to aim for those recommended 4-6 hours a day, rain or shine! I’m so looking forward to it and seeing the changes in my kiddos! Thanks for sharing this!

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