In New England, today’s another snow day for kids and parents, thanks to the third nor’easter in two weeks! Let your kids slump into a little TV fog or sleep in–it’s fine for a couple of hours. But you know they’ll get grumpy at some point and that means they need to get outdoors.
In my childhood, we children were expected to play outside and entertain themselves for hours. If you got cold or your mittens were wet, you could go inside and change, but then you went back outside. This expectation remained impervious to whining, moaning, and complaining.
That’s when I discovered the wonder of experiencing a storm from under an umbrella on our modest front steps. Not thunder and lightning, of course, but good downpours and snowstorms.
I learned the direction of the wind by turning my face into it. I detected the earthy smell of spring rainstorms and the closed-in, dampened sound of my neighborhood during a snowstorm. Over time, I knew the difference between dry snow and wet snow and which made better snow balls. This small type of experience, repeated over time, cemented part of my understanding of the world and love of science.
Children and adults of all ages learn by experience, especially hands-on experience. That means direct, physical, and sensory experience with objects and environments. Think snowballs, snow angels, snow-men and -women, building igloos, catching snowflakes, or just plumping around in the snow.
All the senses are engaged outdoors. The body breathes in fresh air. The brain is stimulated by fun and play. No one is too old for that, are they?
I urge you to try this today. Get your kids outdoors and see what (device-free!) fun they have.