PLAY: What we can do to encourage an appreciation for the great Maine outdoors

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I hear people say all the time that kids don’t know how to enjoy a simple day of fun outside anymore. Here’s a well known fact….kids follow by example.

If he was allowed to do so, Jackson would probably sit on the couch with an Ipad and the television on for hours. He loves Cabela’s Deer Hunter and Angry Birds. Currently, his favorite show is “Yardens” (better known as North Woods Law) and the movie of the month is Brother Bear. It bothers me to see little kids sitting motionless in front of any device for an extended period of time. And yes, we are all guilty of this. Myself very much included!

Some of my fondest memories as a kid are of family sledding nights. My mom and dad would take old milk jugs, cut a hole in the back, and place votive candles inside. Both sides of our driveway were then lined with homemade luminaries. The weight of the snow and ice made the birch trees bow down, forming a perfect arch that extended the entire length of the driveway. That little bit of light turned a cold dark night into a winter wonderland. We would race each other and often times take a minute at the end to lay down and look up at the stars. Our fun was always followed with hot cocoa or warm tomato soup and grilled cheeses on homemade bread from Helen’s Restaurant. Talk about a magical memory!!! My little brother and I were very blessed to grow up with fun parents.

It’s so easy to say, “Go outside and play! Why can’t you be content with being outside? Where is your imagination?”

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Show them!!! Lead by example. A snow angel, a snowman, ice cream making, fort building, sledding, snowshoeing, ice skating, snow flake observing, skiing, snowmobiling, ice fishing, hiking…the list could go on! Show them fun things to do outside and use YOUR imagination. Seeing your excitement and your imagination will give them a push to be passionate about the moment, simply because YOU are. Excitement is so contagious, especially to children!

 

Trust me, I need this reminder just as much as the next person. Winter to me encourages lots of lounging around, eating delicious things, reading on the couch and just not wanting to move. It has been three weeks today since we last visited civilization…so it is VERY necessary to at least leave the house to play and get some fresh air.

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Realty Road

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First time on snowshoes!

 

 

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Rianne Ackley

About Rianne Ackley

I grew up in Downeast Maine but have recently relocated to the North Woods. I live in Clayton Lake where I am a stay at home Mom to two beautifully wild little boys and wife to a Maine State Game Warden. I am a lover of the simple things in life...a good book, a song, a rainy day, a bowl of white popcorn, etc. I have a slight obsession with all things food. Love cooking it, eating it, looking at it, smelling it, reading about it, etc. I am a firm believer that life is what you make it.