When I’m outside, I like to get some miles under my feet. Sure, I appreciate the view, and like to meditate on life, but I like to do it while I’m moving. The boys are turning into pretty good hikers, but they’d rather play in the mud and throw rocks than hoof it all day.
I’ve been making a conscientious effort to include some of that unstructured time in nature they love into our weekly schedule (ironic, huh?).
There is a lot of research out there showing that unstructured time in nature is important for a child’s development. Synapses fire, brains grow bigger and coordination increases. They become better problem solvers, and perhaps most importantly, develop an affection for nature that carries into their adult lives. Kids who care about nature grow into adults that take care of nature.
Once a week or so, we’ve been hanging out at a fishing access/campground near Livingston. The boys play while I kick back in a chair and read magazines (when I’m not chasing my wandering dog around). They are often too enthralled with their imaginary world to even partake in the snacks I bring. More for me.
We’ll still be hitting the trails and making miles, but we are also having fun hanging out by the river.