Playing Outside Year Round

Written by Emily Bartnikowski on December 1st, 2011

Healthy Living, Keeping Active
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No one likes wet socks

This year, I am going to listen to the Universe and Go Outside, regardless of the weather.

That’s a bold statement, especially when you consider that I live in a place that rarely sees snow flurries, much less the feet of snow some of you have already started shoveling from your walk. We also don’t get the tornadoes or thunderstorms I grew up with. What we have is a mild climate that occasionally dips into the 30s in the winter and occasionally ticks up into the 90s in the summer. Our rains are nice and steady and stick to their designated seasons (late fall through mid-spring) and that means any excuse I have for staying indoors should not include our weather.

And yet . . . it has. Especially the last few years when my January baby was still so tiny and the damp seemed to seep into everything. Lately, though, the Universe keeps reminding me that the rest of the world thinks I’m a pansy for letting a little drizzle keep us inside.1

It’s not just those crazy Northern Europeans getting out, either. Amanda Blake Soule lives in Maine and they get outside year round – in fact, their rhythm wouldn’t flow as well without it! It was while reading her latest book that I decided all we really needed were the right clothes and we, too, could stop quivering inside for three months out of the year. 2

Let's get this show on the road!

So we hit a consignment shop and picked up some hiking shoes, a rain jacket, rain boots, and insulated water-proof pants. We’ll still need some warming base layers, but it’s a good start. Adventure in Progress, another blog tracking a family unafraid of the elements, has a healthy gear review section that I find myself referring to often.

The next step (aside from enjoying the last few gasps of summer) is to mark a day to set aside as “get outside” day. This is the day we do more than walk to the park or garden or chase birds up and down the street. This is the day we load up the car and drive into the mountains or to the beach. We may not have snow, but we’ve got topography, and we’ll take advantage it. I feel like Mondays are a good day to check out and lose ourselves in the wilderness – what better way is there to ease back into the week? Who knows, maybe one day we’ll head east into the Sierra Nevadas and find ourselves in a snowy wonderland.

As John Muir once said: “The Mountains are calling and I must go.”

Need more inspiration?

CragMama’s Green Hour – a daily dedication to spending at least an hour outside

FIMBY – Fun in My Backyard – this is the flip side of Adventure in Progress

Rhythm of the Home: Hiking with Children

Not Just Cute: Six Ideas for Exploring Nature with Kids

National Wildlife Federation: The Health Benefits of Being Outside

Find a National Park

Find a National Trust Historic Site (I consider wandering around the grounds of, say, Lincoln’s Cabin, to be getting outside with the added bonus of being good Nerdy Fun)

DIY Trail Mix 

About The Author: Emily Bartnikowski

Emily B emmieb My NPN Posts

Emily is a wife, mother, photographer, and aspiring novelist. She blogs about parenting and life at Embrita Blogging.

3 Responses to Playing Outside Year Round

  1. Laura  

    Thanks for the motivation. This has been my goal, but i’ve been slacking.

  2. Crunchy Con Mommy  

    We were thinking about how big of a difference great gear can make just this weekend when we spent like an hour playing in the snow with our 2-year-old! I’m still going to wimp out and hibernate all January (it will probably be negative temperatures all month), but thanks for the reminder of how fun 20-40 degree weather can be.

  3. Emily  

    I think, if our temps were in the negatives, that I would hibernate, too! There’s lots of fun to be had indoors when it’s not fit for man or beast outdoors! (I’m also not sure of that 20-degree weather you said you enjoyed…but I grew up in Texas, so maybe it is just a matter of warm-enough clothes and the wherewithal to open the door!)

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