Every day, I am reminded of my outdoor education class that I took at the University of Alberta. We discussed questions related to ‘where can you engage with nature?’, and ‘what is the importance of the human connection with nature?’  My husband and I often find ourselves discussing similar questions.  Cam often comments on the potential for nature to facilitate rehabilitation for people with neurological injuries. That conviction has sparked his volunteer involvement with groups like the Alberta Abilities Lodges Society and Interfit. I see the importance of connecting students with nature to enhance their learning and well being. The best example of education within a natural environment that I have seen to date is the Green School in Bali, Indonesia.

In my outdoor education class we would debate the question “Where do you need to go to connect with nature?” From that class I came to realize that the answer is that you can connect with nature anywhere, although in some places it can be a lot easier than in others. For example, there is usually some type of nature outside your window be it a tree or a bird. If you can find a way to connect with that tree in the front of your house on a regular basis you will find a greater amount of peace more often than if you rely solely on the few times you get out into the bush to connect with the natural environment. It is however, a lot easier to find that peace when surrounded by dozens of trees in the mountains, and that is why so many of us enjoy escaping to those peaceful surroundings.

Why am I having this little discussion? Well, I am learning more and more each day that my daughters are most at peace when they are outdoors. Be it outside our apartment when we were traveling in Copenhagen sitting in the grass, in Portugal watching the wave’s crash against the sand or cross –country skiing in Canmore. Seeing the laughter and the joy when we spend days outside makes me want to pitch a tent and just live all of our days in the outdoors.

When we traveled to Portugal with our oldest daughter we spent the majority of all of our day outside. She had numerous naps outside, eaten food outside, breastfed outside and played outside. Because of the heat we, of course, have to make sure she is lathered in sunscreen, wears a hat, her UV protected swim suit and spends roughly 75% of the time in the shade.

Here is how we prepared for a day in the hot sun in Portugal:

Beach Days                                                                                                                                                     Everyday at the beach we made sure to have a good spot in the shade. We applied sunscreen every 1-2 hours and made sure she had a couple of sips of water every once in a while. We had a lot of gear to haul around but it was totally worth it.

For a successful beach day in the hot sun with our 7 month old we brought along:
2x beach mats
beach umbrella
kids sunscreen
UV long sleeve swim suit
sun hat
swim diaper
8 x diapers
baby food
beach toys (pale, shovel, watering can, rake, sifter)
water bottle
Our gear: towel, our swim suits, sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, water bottle, hats, food
and … phew and that is all!!!

Did I miss anything? Let us know your beach necessities!


By Annika
By Annika
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