Monday, September 26, 2011

101 things to do outside with children #8: go barefoot

Here in Minnesota, we are savoring these last remaining sunny days of fall. Soon enough we'll be dressing in layers and our feet won't see the sun again until April. But there's still time to enjoy nature barefoot-granted, we have to wait until the sun's been out a while so our toes don't turn blue, but still. Whatever the weather is in your area, take off your shoes! Running around barefoot is something that comes naturally to most children, and is a great way to connect with nature. But, as adults, we tend to forget the simple pleasure of being barefoot.

Everything feels different when you're barefoot! Walking on a warm sidewalk, padding barefoot through the grassy lawn, and snuggling your toes into a sandy beach-all sublime experiences, to be sure. Such a great way to get in tune with the many different textures and terrains of nature. Just take off your shoes and notice how things feel. Does the grass tickle? Is the ground cold or warm? Being barefoot is so good for balance and coordination, too. There are about 20 muscles in each foot, so give them a chance to work. Shoes are necessary for many things, and in many places, but any child will tell you that tree-climbing and rock-wandering are activities best done barefooted.

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