10.24.2007

No bad weather: Only bad clothing

Americans are giant wusses when it comes to weather. My family was all set for the Halloween Trail this evening, an event geared totally for preschool-age children. Tragically, I received an email telling me the event was canceled due to rain. This was frustrating, as it's being held approximately half a mile from my house. I look outside—no rain. And even if there were a little rain, which we’ve seen on and off this morning causing no one any real discomfort, would my kids really care about the rain? Uh, no.

How is it that a country full of such adventurous people can be so put off by weather? Schools close if there is even an inkling of snow. Entire airports close due to light snowfall or the chance of thunderstorms. Playgrounds are vacant until any sign of wetness has evaporated from the premises or if the temperature falls below 50 or goes above 80 degrees.

Do people in other countries do this? Nope. Do you think in Russia the airport closes because there might be snow? Those pilots seem OK with flying through it. In India, do children stop playing outside because it’s 120 degrees? In Sweden (where you’re lucky to get sunlight in the wintertime) are children discouraged from playing outside because it’s wet or cold or snowy?

I find it so interesting other cultures around the world better adapt to seasons changing by the food they eat, the activities they participate in, and the clothes they wear. In Norway there is a saying “there is no bad weather, only bad clothing.”

I imagine with most of the Northern European countries (Denmark, Germany, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, etc.) weather isn’t as much of an issue as it is here. People are still walking to the store, waiting for the bus, riding their bicycles, walking to school, and playing at the playground regardless of the weather. I will say in Sweden the playgrounds were a bit too covered with snow to play on for most of the winter, but the second it melted, kids were out. During the rainy season, kids wear “rubber pants,” made from a polyamide/polyurethane blend. I bought extras before we left Sweden and even had a friend send me more. They are perfect for wet playgrounds. (Thanks to Kelly in Seattle for sending me the Puddle Gear link. It's good to hear those in Seattle adapt to the rain.)

It didn’t matter what the weather was in Europe, people were still outside. Even our strollers were outfitted for every type of weather. Rain, wind, or snow and we were prepared to walk almost any distance. I may not have wanted to, but I was ready for it.

This is good for the soul and the spirit. Fresh air in winter is what we need to stay healthy. Being out after a rain, even if it’s wet on the ground, is good for us. Even in the heat of the summer, sometimes it’s good to be outside to get away from central air conditioning.

And, as parents, we should remember often times it’s we who dislike the weather and not our kids. In lieu of the Halloween trail, my friend Susan and I slapped the “rubber pants” on all four of our kids and sent them out to play in the rain. They had a blast!

8 comments:

KMF said...

I just acquired a pair of the Swedish rain pants for enjoying the wet playgrounds here in the Pacific Northwest. There is a vendor out of Canada that sells them to US customers.

Linda Kerr said...

Oh, I would be curious about that. Could you send me information on that. Can you purchase them online?

KMF said...

www.puddlegear.com - You can buy online. Prices are listed in CAN$. Also, they are not quite as hefty, but REI makes a pretty good rain pant for toddlers. They also make going down the slide a faster experience.

Cara Fox said...

OK I may have to cave and buy some now that I have an online ordering link. We had a rare treat last week. Georgia has been in an awful drought. It started POURING while we were on the playground, but it was warm outside and there was no thunder or lightning. So we (the kids, not me) stripped down to our diapers/underpants and did a rain dance of thanks!

Kari said...

Hi guys!
I’m happy you did like our Norwegian saying No bad weather, only bad clothing.
I’m a Norwegian living in Toronto, Canada. I have just launched a website about active children outdoors check it out.
www.activekidsclub.com

Hermione said...

Hi all weather adventurers! I was so excited to see blog about Puddlegear. I am the new owner of Puddlegear.com. As a long time customer I couldn't be happier with the product.

My three kids spend 1/2 their lives in Puddlegear / Abeko wet gear.

If there is anything I can help you with let me know! For our complete catalogue visit abeko.se

Splash on
Alex

marimonster said...

I teach preschool and am often frustrated by children arriving without appropriate gear for the weather. This week I reminded a parent that we spend an hour outside every morning and afternoon unless there is dangerous weather. She told me that "32 and rainy is dangerous to their health". I am so happy to have this quote now!

marimonster said...

I teach preschool and am often frustrated by children arriving without appropriate gear for the weather. This week I reminded a parent that we spend an hour outside every morning and afternoon unless there is dangerous weather. She told me that "32 and rainy is dangerous to their health". I am so happy to have this quote now!