When I imagine enjoying the outdoors with my family, there are few things that are often part of this vision. It is warm, but not hot; sunny, with maybe a few clouds here and there; and never raining or snowing. My vision is colorful and temperate and let's be honest, not always realistic. Sure there are those amazing days where the sky is big, the sun is shining and nature feels and looks magical at every turn. Then there are days when that is not to be. It's raining. It's snowing. It's cold. It's windy. It's scorching hot. But we're all-weather kind of folks. Turns out the outdoors is no less magical then, there is just a different kind of magic happening. And it's worth giving a shot.
Okay, so we have inclement weather. All the great things about kids and families spending time outdoors is still there. They're still able to explore, discover, create and collaborate. Kids now just have new elements to do it in - and often, muddier clothing to bring home with them. The rain bring puddles and mud, bugs and new sounds. The snow brings a sense of quiet and animals tracks, of seeing through the woods further and playing in the snow itself. The intense heat brings summer insects, evaporation, foraging and a slowness in the sun.
When we approach the outdoors as something that is part of our lives, no matter what the weather, we appreciate these many varied ways in which the world works. We come to know, and perhaps see first hand that rain makes it possible for the world to stay green and colorful and to help our food grow. We respect that under all that snow, the natural world is preparing for regrowth. And that in the summer heat, we reap that growth and feel a gratefulness for our earth's cycles.
But even beyond all of that, different kinds of weather makes for different kinds of fun. With an open mind and some minimal preparation, you can have some really great experiences - truly memorable ones - even in the pouring rain.
There's no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. - Norwegian saying
If you haven't already heard that saying, it is one of our favorites. Gear goes a really long way toward making all-weather play possible. We use snow gear in the winter, even just on a windy, but not snowy day. It keeps you warm and keeps spirits up. We also use rain gear on warmer, wet days. Where the gear keeps you dry, again, with spirits up. Likewise, we bring hot drinks or food with us on cooler days and cool drinks and refreshing snacks on hot days. This kind of preparation is a really important part of being outdoors. When you don't have to focus on meeting your body's needs, you can instead focus on enjoying yourself.
It's very likely that with inclement or intense weather, your outdoor experience will be shorter in length no matter what. But the right gear and supplies will help you get the most out of the time you're out there.
You Can Do It
Not sure how to introduce all-weather play? Your kids will often follow your lead. If you talk about challenging yourself to enjoy the weather, you kids may do the same. Then again, if your kids are already excited about rain, snow and summer sun, then try your best to dive in with them. You can do it.
It takes some letting loose to run through the rain with them or make a snow angel or to even to laze about mindlessly in a summer field. But those simple moments can be really powerful.
So next time you're checking the weather to see if you should be indoors or out, try checking it to decide what you put in your backpack instead. Then head on out. A new world of adventure awaits.
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