(Since I originally wrote this I've found many kindred spirits! I knew they were here. In fact this may be the most welcoming community I've ever been to! I may have to be torn away from here when my husband's project is completed!)
We've come against this resistance before with our hiking group in Anchorage, but gradually parents have become more confident in their skills in preparing the whole gang for warm, comfortable and dry fun in all kinds of weather. Much of that thanks goes to our dear friend and author Jennifer Aist through her book Babes in the Woods and the classes and clinics she puts on for families (even if you aren't in Alaska, your group or organization can book her to do presentations!). There also happens to be a global movement to connect and reconnect children with the outdoors. This movement has largely been spurred on by the author Richard Louv and his books LAST CHILD IN THE WOODS: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, and most recently, THE NATURE PRINCIPLE: Human Restoration and the End of Nature-Deficit Disorder.
- Fresh air is so important for so many health reasons, it helps with croup, colicky babies, it is very important in the winter months to help ward off colds and bugs that thrive indoors in close quarters.
- Endorphins are thought to be released by engaging in physical activity and to elevate mood and energy levels, as well as promote a healthy immune system. They are said to help you recover from injury and illness faster too.
- Emergency preparedness - when you know how to prepare yourself for being comfortable, safe and warm no matter what the elements have in store for you, you have a better understanding of how to keep yourself alive should you or your children find themselves in an unfortunate predicament.
- Process skills and planning - as a veteran elementary teacher process skills and the ability to plan are traits that are widely lacking in today's children. Pushing on through and planning for an outing in inclement weather teaches kids how to predict what their needs will be and meet them trough planning and being proactive.
- Follow through & determination - the ability to see a plan through to the end. If you say your're going to accomplish something like a hike... then do it. Teach your children not to let obstacles get in their way.
- Flexibility - teach and role model for your kids how to roll with the punches and not let little things like rain get in their way of doing what they had intended.
- True sense of satisfaction - there is nothing more satisfying than conquering an obstacle, even one as silly as weather. Some of the best hikes with Taiga Trekkers have been rainy or cold ones, because we all thought about bailing before we even got to the trailhead, but we all persevered and felt better about ourselves than we would of if it was a regular old sunny day.
- Perspective - seeing life through another lense - rainy & snowy days aren't often thought of as beautiful, but they really are.
- Deeper understanding of nature/science & its cycles - if you only spend time outside when it it is "nice" or rather I should say sunny (now that we've established that other kinds of weather are nice too), you miss out on all the amazing lessons to be learned about nature and how all it's phenomenal systems function. A simple example is leaves turning themselves over before a rainfall or flowers battening down the hatches by closing themselves up.
*please forgive the typos... this was written in a fury of a few quite moments, often typed with one hand while I've nursed an infant, or by miracle of miracles... both kids napped at the same time. The idea has been banging around my beaner for a couple of days now.