Documentary inspires Regina family to spend more time outdoors

A Regina family says they were inspired by a documentary and are now benefiting from spending more unstructured time outdoors.

5 tips for helping nurture a child's love of the outdoors

Malin Hansen and her 3-year-old daughter Nora enjoying the leaves in Wascana Park. (Submitted by Malin Hansen )

Malin Hansen said her family was inspired to spend more unstructured time outside after watching the documentary All the time in the World.

The documentary follows a family of five from the Yukon that moved out to a cabin in the woods to disconnect from the business of their lives and reconnect with one another and nature. 

The Regina woman started taking her now three-year-old daughter Nora outside more often and for longer stretches with the goal of "making her feel really comfortable outside." 

"I want my daughter to feel like the outdoors are more interesting than indoors," Hansen, who is a biologist, explained.

She said when she asks Nora what she wants to do on the weekend, her daughter will now ask to go down to the lake and play. Hansen credits part of this to her being allowed the freedom to explore and part of it to just getting a little older. 

"Last year when she was two, she didn't always like the snow or being in the cold," she said. "This year, she seems to almost thrive on having cold cheeks."

Hansen said it was important to her that her child be comfortable wearing winter gear and she is lucky her daughter knows she needs mittens and snow pants to have fun outside. Although, Hansen admits this may become more challenging as her daughter gets older.

"I want her to think it's cool to be comfortable when you are outside" she said. 

Hansen tries to spend time with her daughter outside everyday, and dedicates big chunks of her weekends to outdoor time. 

The documentary All the Time in the World is being screened Friday, Jan 15 at 7:00 p.m. at Eat Healthy Foods in Regina. 

Hansen says they try to steer clear of structured playgrounds in Regina parks and choose to explore the natural spaces instead. (Submitted by Malin Hansen )

Hansen offers these tips for helping nurture a child's love of the outdoors:

1. Don't go directly to the playground.

"When you enter a park, sometimes if you walk even 10 metres away from the playground you can find exciting things. I see families, they go straight to the playground, and then go straight to their car. The patch of trees near the playground is a great destination, a pile of leaves can be amazingly fun."

2. Always pack food.

"A hot drink in the winter adds to the fun and it can help you be able to stay outside longer. Pack a picnic, even if you only go a block from your house. It's fun for kids to eat outside, it adds to the adventure."

3. Try to have a flexible schedule.

"Instead of going out into the park for half an hour, we'd go out into the park and stay until it got dark. Having a snack makes it easier because you don't have to go home because you are hungry."

4. Dress for the weather. 

"If a child is cold, no one is having fun. Dress in layers because you can always take off clothes if your child gets hot, but there's nothing you can do if they are cold."

5. Find natural spaces close to the city (or even in the city) where you can explore. 

"I love Wascana Trails. It's never too busy and there are lots of great places to explore. Wascana Park also has lots of interesting little spaces to explore if you get off the path. We make it our mission to explore a different part of the park every time we go."


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