Caterpillars in the Lunchbox

Now that the weather is balmy and the breezes welcoming, we’re getting outside more with the boys.  There’s more to being outside than just being outside, however.  Forming a relationship with Mother Nature is the first ingredient in raising kids who want to play outside.

Headlines like this scare the bejeezus out of me.  I’m no triathlete, and I can see just how easy it is to sit on the couch, watch TV, and eat ourselves into diabetes.  Heck, I’ve had weekends like that, for sure.  And right before I sat on my cushy couch to write this post, I ate some ice cream.  I’m off to a fantastic start.

I also know that my boys are watching what we do, and are attuning themselves to the rhythms of our household.  I’d like to make that rhythm more swing and less waltz.  Getting outdoors is key.  Not only will it stave off the need for artery de-clogging later in life, it will also open their eyes to the cool stuff just outside the front door.

What All Kids Should Know about Nature

  1. If you collect moth cocoons in a cigar box and keep it in a cabinet next to the kitchen stove, a few months later, moths will fly out when your mom opens the cabinet doors.  And she’ll scream really loud.
  2. Milkweed is super fun to pull apart and blow into the air.  A good breeze will take the seeds into the horizon.  And the fluffy part feels like the softest thing Mother Nature has made.  Except for baby birds.  Those little tweeters are pretty fluffy, too.
  3. Caterpillars can live in a lunch box for at least a week.  Toss some leaves in there — they’ll be fine.
  4. Learning to catch a firefly without squashing it is an art to be respected.
  5. Blue skies and puffy white clouds make any day better.
  6. Walking in the rain is often a good thing.  And the air smells terrific.
  7. Mosquitoes, bees, and other pesky insects are no reason to stay inside.  Eating al fresco is a must in the summer.
  8. If you look closely at twilight, you can see bats flitting around the treetops.  Tell me that’s not cool!
  9. Camping can reset your state of mind, even if it’s just one night.  Camp in the mountains, in the forest, and in the desert.  All different, all worthwhile.
  10. Time spent on the water is never wasted.  The briny smell, the breeze propelling you forward, the lazy drift of a  river…ahhhhh.  Just don’t get too close to a swan with her babies.  She will attack and peck your face off.

Some days are just so stunningly beautiful that it feels like Mother Nature has made the day just for you.  Know what?  She has!  Go out and fill the days with adventure, sunlight, and joy.  That’s the best way to show her how much you appreciate the gift.

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