Outdoor Living

Winter is for Reading
by Carla Gull

While I love sledding, looking for tracks in the snow, and building snow forts, I also relish curling up inside with a good book on a chilly day. With a focus on children and families outside, I compiled a list of good reads for the winter months. Here are my top picks:
The Last Child in the Woods. Richard Louv started the movement and sets the foundation for getting children back to nature. So many have called this a life-changing book, bringing them back to their childhood spent outdoors and helping them dream of this possibility for our next generation.
Balanced and Barefoot. Angela Hanscom, a pediatric occupational therapist, has a unique look on how natural free play supports all developmental domains of the child. With the recent rise in sensory issues, children are often missing sensory input from nature play. Hanscom makes the case for including nature.
15 Minutes Outside. Rebecca Cohen shares a plethora of outside activities to explain the importance of getting in nature on a daily basis. She lists activity ideas by day and season, meaning there is a great idea to get outside today!
How to Raise a Wild Child. Dr. Scott Sampson from Dinosaur Train explains the importance of kids spending time in nature. This book gives parents, educators and caregivers the rationale and tools to get children outside.
Many of these titles are available from the Middlebury Public Library. Check out a book today! Use down time in the winter to gain inspiration for getting outside. Understand the rationale while getting practical ideas for activities in the wild. As adults in various roles as parents, educators, grandparents, and community members, we are often the gatekeepers to allowing nature-based free play. Find out how you can help get children outside one book and one activity at a time this winter.

“Time in nature is not leisure time; it’s an essential investment in our children’s health (and also, by the way, in our own).” – Richard Louv

“The woods were my Ritalin. Nature calmed me, focused me, and yet excited my senses.” –Richard Louv