This is my favorite time of the year, at least when it pertains to getting the kids outside easily. I am sure as soon as I hit publish the weather will change and I’ll be eating my words, but for a while we are living in this glorious sweet spot of get-outside-weather.
It’s not too hot, not too cold and the skies are clear and the air crisp. I’m enamored by the robust colors and an invitation to slow down and enjoy it. And we all appreciate a season of being able to fudge sun hats, sun screen and winter snow suits.
It’s also a perfect time to combine relaxation and outdoor activity. We pack up a pile of outdoor/fall books and a hammock and hike to a place where we can at least imagine we are on our own.
Sometimes the actual hike is a couple miles, and sometimes it is literally only a few hundred yards. But, it allows the wiggles to move themselves out of our bodies, and gives us a chance to find clarity of mind in the fresh air.
And then we pile in the hammock and read.
Ideally they snuggle around me and listen intently as dive into stories.
In reality, someone is still wiggling, someone is fussing and after a few minutes they’re done and ready to go play.
And that’s ok.
We go back and forth between resting and page-turning and exploring and dreaming. Because stories breathe creativity into play too.
When we’re reading about a windy day, it’s so much more real as we sway in real wind through the trees.
We can imagine growing up in a little house in the woods or pressing apples for cider.
Because outdoor adventures aren’t limited to hikes and skis and camping. It’s finding ways to bring the inside, OUT, and the outside in. And books are my favorite way to do both!
***Pssttttt – that’s a Grand Trunk Hammock we’re reading in…and it is AWESOME. Great straps for the trees, super light and comfortable. Two thumbs up from us!**
Our Current Favorite Outdoor Books
The following is a list of books we love for encouraging an outdoor life, especially in the fall season. Picture books are for all ages, but this has a specific focus on kids aged 5-8. While we are always proponents of using your local library, if you do decide to purchase, some of the following are affiliate links. Thanks so much for clicking through them – it doesn’t cost you a dime and helps us out just a tiny bit!
Outdoor Books from Barefoot Books
I have to admit I have a great fondness for books from Barefoot books. They are always beyond gorgeous and keep my kids (and, let’s be honest, me) coming back again and again. Something about the colors in these make reading them outside all the more fantastic. You can purchase all of the Barefoot Books here on their site.
My kids love the Barefoot books that have songs included the best. This one comes with a CD to sing along with and you can find videos online that are great for singing along with also. It’s also a fun one to sing AS you hike…. I particularly appreciate the fact that they are learning opposites OUTSIDE!
This book is brand new this fall and absolutely fabulous as we study trees for homeschool. Great photos, easy to understand language and relatable material for ALL kids! My second grader is using it as his text book, but we all join in the fun. And now when we hike, we talk a lot about tree specifics (types of leaf, bark and those tree nuts….). Since not all of the trees obviously grow locally, we sure do appreciate the great photos too!
We have been fans of the “Who Pooped in the Park” series for years now. It’s a great way to teach kids about tracks and scat! Gary Robson’s newest book, Who Pooped in Central Park, helps connect kids to a more urban environment. The book features the long list of animals: muskrat, Norway rat, eastern gray squirrel, coyote, domestic dog, red-tailed hawk, horse, Canada goose, raccoon, laughing gull, groundhog, red-bellied woodpecker, eastern screech owl, tai-colored bat, pigeon and diamondback terrapin. As silly as it may sound, I love that the book shows kids how much wildlife there are in urban areas too! Be sure to check out Who Pooped in Yellowstone National Park (and the entire series) too!)
I have had my eye on Stripes Gear for literally years now. I am SO excited to tell you about them now…and use them this winter for the whole family. This post is your introduction. Watch for their appearance on our Instagram especially as the weather cools and we all start wearing base layers around the clock.
Stripes Gear is a family-run company out of Canada specializing in these very fun, super warm Polypropylene base layers, manufactured on the south island of New Zealand. You hear me talk a lot about wearing wool on this blog, which we do and love, but this poly-pro is pretty amazing too. Plus, wool is NOT for everyone….and we love this alternative.
The garments are 20% warmer than wool and contains no harmful substances. For kids, they start at size 2-3 and go to an XL youth.
Here’s why poly-pro is great, according to Stripes (and we certainly agree!):
Non-allergenic, no itch
Polypropylene has the best thermal properties of any known fiber – natural or man made
Easy care (machine HOT washable), durable, color-fast, non staining
Dries super quickly
L (age 2.5) has been wearing her Stripes for pajamas for a few weeks now. It was the perfect way for us to get a first look on how they would perform with daily use…and in keeping her warm in what has become a very cool sleeping environment as the weather turns. She continues to be comfortable, they continue to wear very well and I have high hopes for the winter.
Stripes Gear does have a considerable amount of stretch in them and a bit of a looser fit than more traditional base layers. My kids that aren’t particularly fond of tight-fitting clothes really like this. I’ll report back later this winter as to how they do being layered under other gear.
Their hats are all one-size-fits most…and that huge amount of stretch really helps make that true.
Plus, have you seriously seen anything cuter!?!? And my kids can NOT take a serious photo…maybe it’s the Stripes that make them even more goofy.
Oh and Stripes Gear comes in adult sizes too! I’ll put off the photo of the whole family in them (minus the baby) until it’s colder out and we are out doing something super fun.
**Note, these are machine washable, but must be air dried only!**
Per our request, Stripes Gear generously provided us this gear in order to facilitate this review. However, as always, the opinions expressed here are completely and honestly our own. You can find my full disclosure here.
Sometimes I feel like we can’t get away from some population of animals around here….even if we wanted to. Elk and bison and ground squirrels and snakes and bears and big horn sheep….oh my!
But, while we easily take it for granted, I know where we live is incredibly unique in our country and even in our world in many places. These are the animals I know and can appreciate. But, there are so many more that I am very rarely encounter. Truth be told, I honestly hardly think of them (but am working on that!)
This year I am proud to be representing Dawn (yep, the dish soap!) as a Wildlife Ambassador. You’ll see more posts this year about wildlife, and, of course, what Dawn does to help especially marine wildlife. I grew up in Alaska and saw the tragic effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill….and the way Dawn came to the rescue.
They also do pretty neat rescues and re-introduction into wildlife like this:
The Dawn Dish soap itself has dozens of different uses, but bottom line – they help clean up well, especially when relating to oil/trash vs. animals.
So why wildlife on this blog? Becuase part of the mission behind getting famillies outside is promoting a deep-rooted respect for our earth and nature in general. Wildlife certainly is part of that.
World Animal Day is October 4th
So what? What can you do? Basically bring awareness to kids (and, really, ourselves) about wildlife and animals and their importance. While there is certainly potential to do big projects at home and at school, we like to keep things simple around here. Here’s a few ideas:
Kids are forever in motion, adventuring and playing. It’s what we (usually) love about them, right? I am continually inspired and in awe of their energy and zest for life. And M.A.P. Footwear (which, appropriately, stands for “Motion, Adventure, Play”) has got kids and their needs nailed. There’s nothing that ruins a hike quicker (or, […]
My kids are suddenly really into cooking and science in the kitchen. While to be perfectly honest sometimes I can’t stand having anyone underfoot in my tiny area, I LOVED cooking as a kid and want to foster that love for my own kids. Plus there are so many lessons to learn between chemistry, math, […]
Oakiwear has been one of our favorite makers of kids’ gear for a few years now….but just this year they expanded to include some boots for women. We were given the opportunity to test our some of their new Noxen boots this fall and were pleasantly surprised. To be honest, when I first got them, […]