Best Foot Forward

Happy March!

Our month of focusing on outdoor play began with a flurry of snow and a very chilly afternoon. They tell me that March is the snowiest month in Denver, which is why this seemed like the perfect month to make a conscious effort to get outside more often. I have a tendency to want to hibernate during the winter months (I know, heresy in Colorado!), so this is going to be a challenging month for me. My husband and our kids are easier – they all love any time they can get outside.

This blog project is ultimately about habit building, and starting with small, do-able steps. The small steps we took today were:

1. Being prepared – we had warm clothes in the car, so we’d be able to play outside this evening.

2. Choosing an easy location – after I picked up the kids after work, we stayed at the playground at B.’s daycare center. The giant tire was a big hit!

3. Acknowledging that some time outside is better than no time – we played for about half an hour, before we had to head home and warm up. B. didn’t want to leave – she seems like a prime candidate for one of those amazing 100% outdoor Forest Schools

I realized that I need to pack even warmer clothes and blankets in our car, and I need to remember the snacks and water bottles. But overall it was a great start for building our outside-play-no-matter-the-weather habit!

If you’re building this habit too, what small steps can you take to make outside time easy and enjoyable for everyone involved? 



6 thoughts on “Best Foot Forward

  1. Looking forward to hearing about your month! Have you heard of the book: Fifteen Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to Get Out of the House and Connect with Your Kids? It was just published last year and is descibed as fllows:

    What if you got outside every day, and what if you could get your kids to come along? It sounds modest, but the effects, as dynamic outdoor spokesperson Rebecca Cohen herself can testify, are profound. This inspiring collection of activities gives families an idea for every day of the year, requiring little planning, no expertise and relatively little resources (time, cash, or patience!), no matter where they live. Simple and inspiring, this book is bursting with hundreds of easy ways to get your family out into nature a little bit every day.

    I bought this for a friend of mine for her birthday as she was looking for more ideas to get outside with him. I like how it is arranged seasonally so it takes into account what is realistic in any month. Maybe it will give you a few ideas too!

    • Yes, we’ve had that book from the library! I’d like to check it out again (or buy it) – I really love her low-stress approach.

  2. There’s an article in the March AARP magazine that’s a perfect fit for your outdoor theme. Playgrounds built for both kids and elders. Good timing. (Pun intended).
    I need more warm outdoor layers too. You’re inspiring me to make a committment to brave the cold, grey, windy (sometimes) winter/spring weather daily. We have the most delicious fresh air.

    • I’d love to read the article and see what those playgrounds look like – is it online somewhere? I’ll search around…

      Last year I read an article in a UU magazine we get, about a couple that decided to commit to sleeping outside for a year (in a tent, in their backyard), no matter the weather – it was really inspiring too. I guess if you’ve got the right gear, why not?

  3. I’ll have to check out that book Dawn mentioned–And I too would love to see that AARP playground article! I’ll search for it online, too.

    I love being outdoors, but when the weather is at extremes–either really cold, or really hot–which happens often!–I am challenged to get outside. Thankfully, my daughter, gives me the nudge/inspiration I need to get outside more often, during those extreme weather temperatures–especially in the heat of Summer. She loves water play!

    What steps I’ve made to make outside time easier, or more enjoyable? We have shelves in our garage dedicated to outdoor play materials–chalk (chalk is a FAVORITE!), old pots and pans, paintbrushes, jump ropes, balls, bug box, etc. I have a long, shallow, clear rubbermaid container for water play–in an accessible place, and great for moving around to wherever play is happening–which also contains many empty containers, spoons, turkey baster, empty liquid soap dispensers with pumps, etc. We also have an empty rubbermaid container filled with dirt, and some little shovels, since we don’t have dirt nearby our house to dig in. Last Summer, we painted a big chalkboard inside our garage (right on the unfinished dry wall), since it’s sort of our homebase for outdoor play. It inspired all sorts of dramatic play–lots of “school,” of course…that’s always interesting to observe!

    The next time I have the opportunity to take pictures of our garage space–good light, and do a bit of tidying!–I’ll send them your way, Elise. Maybe you can get others to send pictures of their outdoor spaces at home vs. outdoor spaces they love when they go out and about, exploring!? It would be interesting to see, and inspire further outdoor play ideas, I’m sure!

    Thanks for this wonderful indoor Internet space for exploring and considering what’s important in life. The outdoors being one of those very important things!

    • Thanks for sharing your ideas for outdoor play – it makes me think of things I can get ready for my 2 little ones now that spring is approaching. I like the idea of the dirt container – maybe they will stay out of my flowers this way! And your ideas for the shovels, spoons, etc is a good one. You are right – give them the simplest things and they are happy for hours. Thanks for sharing!

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