I recently had a business conference where all my co-workers flew in from all over the country to the Twin Cities Metro area. One of them said to me; "I can't believe you have parades in the winter time in Minnesota. That's crazy, why do you do that?" Newsflash! Minnesota is not a tropical walk along a sandy beach in the winter and we need to do something in all of this cold.
We are optimists in the upper Midwest and celebrating the seasons comes naturally to us. There are nights the snow is so beautiful that it shines in the moonlight like diamonds. When it is five degrees outside, it isn't that bad if dressed correctly. This year, the day after Thanksgiving, I went with my two sisters and their kids to a night time parade we have downtown Minneapolis. It is called the "Hollidazzle" and it is full of fantasy, lights and glamour. The events run a few days each week from Thanksgiving through to New Years. It was my son's first experience at a parade like that so he was front and center. Although he LOVES being with his cousins, he was so captivated by the lights that when the other kids were cold and wanted to go inside, he wanted to stay.
For a few moments it was just the two of us, despite the crowded sidewalks. We were bundled up and warm, our cheeks red from the cold and we could see our breath in the air. I reached over and hugged him, he hugged back and I could feel the love and thankfulness he felt too. His awe and wonderment drew me in. Moments like this are the ones we will hold in our hearts forever. These are the priceless times I want to savor. It is so hard to believe he is already seven. I enjoy his carefree demeanor and that he still loves hold my hand in parking lots. He knows Santa is real and understands the celebrations of the season. It doesn't get any better than that!
Today, we are going sledding with my mom, sister, brother-in-law and nephew. It is another opportunity to enjoy the outdoors. Recently an article was written and a discussion was moderated in USA Weekend by senior writer Dennis McCafferty called Mother Nature: Raising healthier kids. It talks about a new movement by medical and mental health professionals to encourage kids and parents to explore nature. McCafferty mentions that medical experts are emphasizing healthy childhood development involves unstructured and self directed play. At Farmer's Hat Productions children's product company we couldn't agree more. That is why we created Bur Bur and Friends; our award winning children's book series educates kids about sports and outdoor exploration. We too, recognized it is an opportunity to nurture our kids physically, developmentally, emotionally and intellectually.
Please share below the things you do with your children or grandchildren to enjoy the great outdoors. What role will you play?
By Kakie Fitzsimmons, Vice President and Co-Founder,Farmer's Hat Productionsand Co-author of Bur Bur and Friends, an award winning children's book series that uses a cast of young multicultural characters to teach kids about sports. Fitzsimmons also writes articles for the blog at http://burburandfriendsblog.com