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Living Close to Nature With Your Kids

friluftsliv (pronounced: free-loofts-liv)

I didn't accidentally lean on my keyboard there...this is an actual word with an important meaning. Friluftsliv is the Scandinavian word for "living close to nature" or "open air living".

Scandinavia is the region of Europe that encompasses Norway, Sweden and Denmark (other countries such as Greenland, Finland, and Iceland are sometimes grouped in here as well). The climate in this area ranges from temperate to subarctic. Winters can be long and dark, with cold and snowy weather. Perfect for being outside, right?

The Scandinavian relationship with nature looks a lot different than here in the US. Despite weather conditions that may be considered off-putting to many, Scandinavians prioritize their time outside. No matter the weather. There is an appreciation of the benefits of nature and acknowledgement that "there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing". The beauty of this mindset is that it doesn't really matter what you are doing outside, just as long as you are there; letting your mind wander, paying attention to nature, and letting the fresh air work its magic on your brain and your body.

Need some ideas? Since we are in the throes of winter, let's focus on some cold weather activities for you and your kids to add more friluftsliv to your life:

Go for a walk

Watch the birds looking for seeds in the snow

Have a snowball fight

Go sledding

Ice Skate

Ski (nordic or alpine)


Skin uphill

Follow animal tracks

Have a bonfire with friends

Have a picnic with hot cocoa

Build a snow fort or igloo

Bundle up and sit in the sun

Read a book outside

Shovel your driveway/sidewalk

Go on a nature scavenger hunt

Make a snowman

Go outside to draw or paint

Write your grocery list outside in the sun

Just write outside

Talk with a neighbor outside in your driveway/on the sidewalk

Go outside and look at the stars


Play pond hockey

It can feel a bit like you are swimming upstream to try and work in more outside time during the winter. We are taught that winter is a time to hunker down and count the minutes until spring, but it really should not be that way! The key to success is to keep it simple. Being outside can be as elaborate or basic as you want it to be - all that matters is that you bundle up and show up. There is nothing quite like a saunter around the block at the end of a long day to reset your soul.

Stay Wild and Free,


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