A few posts ago, I discussed some ways to bring the outdoors indoors. That was a reaction to the miserable weather and illnesses plaguing our community. Today, it is 18oC and my resentment towards the weatherman is lifting (although the weekend forecast makes me skeptical about the future of our relationship).
But, for now, I am warm and happy, and in possession of a freshly-chalk-decorated driveway, a five-year-old with very dirty feet, and a one-year-old who is discovering the pleasures of eating dirt, chalk and rocks.
So, in this spirit, I’d like to discuss ways to bring the indoors, outdoors. Some are obvious, others perhaps less so.
- Shade & seating – A very effective way to bring the indoors outdoors is to find ways make yourself comfortable. Our backyard was ridiculously uncomfortable until we set up a gazebo on the deck and some proper seating. Now, we use it all the time.
- Studying/Reading – I love taking books, magazines and newspapers outside with the kids, or (when I have the chance, on my own). It can sometimes be distracting, but sometimes provides the quiet and elimination of electronic distractions that is needed to focus. Either way, spending time outside has been demonstrated to improve concentration in the long run.
- Eating – Ok, this one is really obvious. Picnics. Fantastic! You don’t have to worry about your kids spilling stuff and dropping crumbs. Don’t like ants? Picnic table.
- Dancing – When I used to go swing dancing, my group would have late night dances in a gazebo by the water at a local park. It was magical!
- Playing with toys– Taking toys outdoors opens up brand new possibilities. Dirt piles become tracks and pits for cars and trucks; flower petals and leaves make beautiful clothing for Barbie and how can you possibly set up a proper plastic dinosaur world WITHOUT a lush backdrop of foliage?
- Camping/Sleeping – This is another obvious one. If you can’t get away, why not set up a tent in the backyard? The kids will love it. We’ve got to do that this year.
- Teaching – Are you a teacher? Of young kids? Get those kids outside! Learning opportunities are plentiful in the great outdoors. Do you teach University or college? Same deal. Plus, as a bonus, they can (for the most part) be trusted not to wander off.
- Movies – Have you ever been to the drive-in? I haven’t. But I should. My community also has regular movies in the park. I can’t wait until the kids are old enough to attend things that late. Perhaps someone you know has a projector TV that can be used with a sheet in a backyard for a neighbourhood gathering.
- Working/Writing – Isn’t that what laptops are for? Find some shade, and a comfortable spot. Hopefully your screen works better than mine does outside. The outdoors can provide new perspectives and inspiration.
- Exercise – This one should be obvious, and yet, the popularity of gym memberships would indicate otherwise. I would think these places would be out of business in the summer. With all the possible outdoor activities combined with good weather, who needs a treadmill or exercise bike?What did I miss? Talk to me!