In Sweden there are a LOT of little islands. We live on one for starters! These little islands are very often inaccessible by foot, and many people have boats, as a lot are good for exploring. Some though are connected by little foot bridges, and today’s adventure was onto one of these (and there are many more for us to explore!) The local maps mark the fire pits on them, so I chose one to head towards so the children could have some outdoor fire-cooked food and a play while we enjoyed being there.
After we parked the car, it was about a 1 km little hike to the fire pit. We often see swans in groups of 2-5 around the waters that surround us, but when we got there, in the water between us and the mainland, there were 20-30 swans, so this must be where they “hang out”. The children had a fantastic play while I set up the fire and unpacked the supplies. We were really pleasantly surprised to find a little tiny wooden covered area with a large jerry can, some wood, and some paper. We had come prepared, but I liked having the jerry can as it meant we could fill it with sea water and have a bit more on standby in case of needing to dampen the fire quickly. It is a very beautiful and peaceful spot.
The children were soon immersed in imaginative play by climbing rocks or hiding in bushes, or balancing along fallen trees. Two of them clambered over to boulders in the sea, climbed them and sat watching the swans for a while. I have talked in posts before about the importance of children being out in nature. Unless we expose them to it now, allow them to enjoy it, and learn about it, they won’t grow up respecting it, or wanting to protect it, and it already has enough pressure on it! There are also the health benefits of a healthier life style (or in their eyes, forced hiking!!), and everyone being a lot less stressed and argumentative. They literally live for the moment when they are immersed in nature and being able to play in amongst it. Every second is a game, every step of a hike has the potential to reveal hidden wonders, and they return back home a lot calmer. They think more creatively, they push their boundaries, they both learn to assess a risk as well as take a risk, they collaborate better and communicate better…the list is endless. I see all this in my own children, so I know it works being out there in nature, and I know it improves my parenting skills too as I am calmer and more relaxed 🙂 A big benefit for my twins is they are learning so much when they are outdoors. They are never going to be conventional learners, but out here in nature, they are switched on to what you are saying, prepared to get involved more, and enjoy it!! That is why we take so much of our life outside too.
We cooked our treats (posted on the outdoor cooking post for the week), made our hot drinks, and just enjoyed being in each other’s company. No one wanted to leave and we promised to bring Dadda back here. However, with daylight fading rapidly and a narrow footbridge to cross, we reluctantly headed back along the trail to the car. Everyone was so relaxed and happy, that when we got home, they played and were happy until supper was ready! It so often works like that, and it makes all the hassle of wrapping three little people up to go out in the Swedish winter weather worth it 🙂