When it comes to kids and spending time in nature, there’s no such thing as bad weather. I didn’t coin the phrase…rather, I’ve borrowed it from a book a read a couple years back by the same name.
Splashing in puddles during or after a rain…experiencing a familiar forest when it’s blanketed with snow instead of green…plunging into water when it’s so hot you think you’ll roast…all send the message to children that they need not wait for some “perfect condition” in order to enjoy their lives and love being in the out-of-doors.
The Scandinavian countries of Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and the Faroe Islands experience some of the harshest winters in the world. Yet, they are also some of the happiest people in the world, as well. If you study their culture, you’ll understand why. In a word: Hygge (pronounced hoo-gah) is their magic prescription. Though there isn’t a direct translation in English, hygge can be anything from cozy blankets and warm beverages to fresh flowers and time with friends. Lighting candles, enjoying sweets, playing games, and appreciating stillness are all a part of hygge and enjoying the embrace of winter. There isn’t the longing for Spring that is so often heard here in the US. Instead, there is a sense of purpose and peace in the season.
The Nordic culture also whole-heartedly embraces what they call friluftsliv, or an “open air life.” They believe, as do I, that recreation, rejuvenation, and restoration occur when one communes with nature. Babies nap outside, outdoor breaks are encouraged at work, and days off are spent skiing, hiking, picnicking, paddling, climbing mountains, walking or biking to the market, and playing outdoors with children.
What a refreshing approach to life! What an important message for our kids! You do not have to have a 55-75 degree sunny day to have a great day and to spend time outside. We have access to all the outdoor gear we could ever want. Put on the boots, hat, scarf, gloves…grab the umbrella and cute raincoat…and stop wishing for the next season for goodness sake.