We have spent the last few glorious summer weeks up in Ontario cottage country. My favourite things (hot weather, the great outdoors, loads of amazing food and drink, and most importantly, time with my family) all combined to make it one happy vacation.
It is hot and sunny. The kind of weather I wish I could somehow bottle up and bring out on a freezing day in January. Just to feel the sweet, sweet heat on my face, and feel my tense muscles unwind as I sink, deeply and pleasantly, into total relaxation in a hammock (preferably with a mojito of some kind). I may blog about enjoying the great outdoors in all kinds of weather, but summer is more than a season to me- it’s my happy place.
One of my kids’ favourite books these days is a story called We Play on a Rainy Day. It’s the tale of a group of school children who love to play outdoors and “have fun in the sun” but are upset at being cooped up indoors when it rains. They “pout and shout- we want to go out, we want to go out!” and the unseen teachers in the story must finally relent, because the last few pages of the story have the kids donning rain gear and splashing and stomping in the rain.
As a mom of two who is passionate about exploring the great outdoors with her kids, it came as no surprise to me that a recent ParticipACTION report linked outdoor, open-ended play with positive outcomes in children’s physical, emotional and mental health. My kids are definitely happiest digging in the dirt, making “bird soup” with sand pails, water and twigs or examining the forest floor after it rains.
One day last year, I was taking the girls for a stroll down a street in our neighbourhood when we spotted a peculiar sight. On one of the tree trunks at the base, there appeared to be a tiny door. On closer inspection, we discovered a fairy garden! We examined the miniscule furniture, sparkling glass beads, beautifully arranged flowers and stones forming a pathway around the base of the tree. Where did the tiny door lead to? One can only imagine that it was the portal into a magic underground of fairies, nymphs, elves or even mischievous goblins.