Sunday, April 17, 2011

Hunter connects with nature

I'm currently reading several books. One of them is Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv. I admit that the book makes me want to force Hunter to play outside more. Luckily, I'm not having to force him. He's taking the initiative on his own. He is very interested in caring for the new plants we have. Yesterday he helped me plant the veggies and herbs into our raised garden bed. He volunteered to put socks on so that his legs and ankles weren't exposed to sun and then he climbed into the now enclosed (we have bunnies) bed, plopped down in the dirt, and helped me dig holes and gently place the plants into the holes and then cover and pat them with loose soil. Once we were finished we just sat for a little while, admired our work, and then prayed. And then I noticed that he was in the best mood for the rest of the day.

I just so happened to read the chapter about children and depression today and I feel strongly that perhaps I can help relieve him from his symptoms of depression by getting him outside more often. Also, I think he could use some exercise. He is starting to initiate the exercise on his own... wandering around the yard, jumping on the trampoline, jumping from the cedar chest to the bean bag chair, trying to ride his bike. But in reality, it's simply not enough. I have got to get my act together and start designating outdoor games to play and then actually playing with him. I would love ideas and feedback about fun, easy outdoor games that would provide some light and much needed exercise for my boy.

While Hunter was in Florida, he fell in love with his great grandmother's little dog. He has since then really been pushing us to get him a dog. He also thoroughly enjoyed riding on a boat while he was gone. I'd love to find a friend who has access to a boat for him to enjoy.

Hunter has been taking the initiative to water the plants with water from the rain barrel.

He mentions how well he watered them and brings me to see what a good job he's done.
He feels proud.

He loves that his seeds attract so many cardinals, his favorite bird.

He's been taking his brother outside to see the neighbor's dogs and to wander around the yard.

He helped his dad finish putting up the chicken wire around our garden.

What are some things that motivate your reluctant child to venture into the great outdoors?


  1. 75% of the time that we go out for a walk I have to TELL Gerrick we are doing it. If I ask, he'll almost always say he doesn't want to. BUT, once we are out there he almost always is happier and often doesn't want to come back in. I believe this is one of those times when we have to use our God-given parental authority to direct our children.

    The other 25% of the time, he initiates it by saying something like "I just need to get out in nature." That makes me so happy that he's learning to turn to God's creation when he is feeling down or overwhelmed. :)

    I am SO glad that you're reading that book. My reading it marked a turning point for me. It's when I started seeking out nature for G. He was 2.5 and we lived in an apartment. Before reading that book, I never even thought about nature in relation to our mental and emotional well-being. I didn't do outdoorsy stuff. But, man, I have really learned to love it now. :)

  2. What a great post! Princess and I are working on getting out. Maybe I need to force myself to read the book. I am so not an outdoor girl. :-/

    One thing that makes getting outside really fun for Princess is scavenger hunts. She LOVES a good scavenger hunt. Together we make a list of things to find and photograph or check them off as we find them.

  3. I agree with Sherry, sometimes I really have to motivate the children (and myself) to go for a walk and be outdoors and everytime we feel better for it. I made some very simple bean bags for my daughter's birthday party this weekend and we have already used them for lots of simple games like throwing them in a bowl or just throwing and catching them to each other whilst we talk. Today my youngest son sat on my knee whilst we read in the sunshine. All of my children like it when I put a blanket on the grass and take lots of books out to read together. Maybe trying to take some of your 'indoor' things and sit outside with them would be a start? Maybe just being outside will trigger his imagination and he will want to explore further? I hope this helps. I will have to look out for the book, I haven't heard of it before in the UK.
    Zoe x

  4. This is a great post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  5. Last Child in the Woods, Free Range Kids book and what Charlotte Mason said about kids in nature and the benefits of fresh air has made a huge difference in our family too. My Hunter used to have dark circles and sallow color, he was grumpy and unhappy and tired for a little kid. Now that we get plenty of time outdoors, he feels so much better. His dark circles are gone and he has pink cheeks.

    We are getting out to parks and trails more now too. Stranger danger and animal predators are just not that common but the media makes it seem so. I loved the chapter, Boogeyman Syndrome Re-dux. We do have cougars and black bears. I watch for postings for recent sitings at parks and in the real woods we carry a pistol... it's just practical in wild parts of Oregon but I don't worry about it like I did before.

    Getting outdoors more has made such a difference for our kids. Rather than outdoor games, I would suggest local parks and natural areas. Just get out and explore, discover and enjoy. :) Kids will often make up their own games, or you can kick around a ball. C has a pop up soccer net and we have some sports equipment that we knock around. Climbing ropes or swings from a tree are nice too. Or install monkey bars if you don't have trees...

    HTH I'm so glad your Hunter is well enough to enjoy the outdoors!! What a blessing! ~Cori

  6. It is wonderful that Hunter is getting outdoors and that it is affecting him positively :)
    I know that I often have to make myself get outside, and I always feel better once I do!! My girls are great about getting outdoors and spending time...they love it!


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