It's 3:30 and the light is already starting to fade behind the apartment building around the park. I give my kids a two minute warning with a sigh. Another long afternoon stuck inside.
The long hours of darkness are one of the hardest parts of Winter, but there are a few ways to celebrate it.
There is no doubt that darkness effects our moods. The slow mornings dragging their feet into boots and hands into mittens. The crabby evenings that seem endless. That's the darkness.
Believe it or not, these dark afternoons can also be a fun time to go for a special walk.
1. Gather Flashlight. One for each person.
2. Bundle up in weather appropriate clothing.
3. Discuss safety rules. This will be different depending on your neighborhood and usual walk rules. Our rules are; Stay in the yard and on the sidewalk and Stay together as a group.
1. Before you go outside, start by talking about what you might see outside in the dark with your lights. Older children will have more ideas, but even my toddlers thought we might find the stars and the moon.
2. Pass out flashlights. Practice turning them on and off and remind everyone not to shine lights in anyone's eyes.
3. Then with a simple, "let's go see what we can find!" head outside.
4. Give them time to explore. Listen to their ideas or ask them to "Tell me what you see!" Your primary job is to listen to their observations.
When your children are losing interest or when you need to head inside give your children a warning first.
5. Afterwards, find time to recap their findings. Take time at dinner, or some other time, to have a conversation. Ask what they saw.
Help them recall their observations with questions such as:
"What did you see when you looked up?"
"What did you see on the ground?"
"How does our yard/block look different at night time?"
"What happened when you turned off your light?"
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