Wednesday, June 5th, 2013
This morning, my kids’ elementary school canceled Field Day because our town was on black bear alert. One of these animals had been spotted at the local museum grounds. I’ve never heard of a bear attacking a tug-of-war or potato sack race, so I believe officials overreacted. Anyway, they found the poor, scared bear hiding in a tree by lunchtime. Field Day is back on for tomorrow.
A new book called Let Them Be Eaten by Bears: A Fearless Guide to Taking Our Kids into the Great Outdoors is perfect for today. I wish Montclair Public Schools would’ve consulted outdoor expert and author Peter Hoffmeister about the bear.
Hoffmeister works hard to inspire nature lovers and indoor folks alike to get more sunshine. He grew weary of hearing parents say, “With kids, we don’t get out much. It’s too hard.” So he offers well-researched reasons why families need fresh air and easy tips to get started. He says to just open the door and play in the backyard for 15 minutes, then 30 and work up to half a day. Be sure everyone—including you—takes off the shoes. “Let your kids get filthy, and get filthy yourself.” (He makes it sound so fun!) Once you’re on a regular schedule, camp out in the back yard. Or do what Hoffmeister does and take your young kids on weeks-long camping excursions in beautiful settings. His relatable writing style and first person stories—he’s also the founder of an outdoors program for high schoolers—will make you want to hop in puddles, gaze at clouds and share the wonder of nature with your children ASAP.
Thanks to his book, my kids and I have already expanded our horizons and taken local hikes. Hoffmeister is absolutely right: Children instinctively love nature. They ponder the plants and insects. And now, of course, they’re dying to spot a black bear.Add a Comment