OutGrown Blog

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Reflecting on Hike it Baby becoming OutGrown: an essay from Board Member, Blaine
I have been connected with “We Are OutGrown” (formerly known as "Hike it Baby") for more than 2 years because I see the amazing work it does to empower families with young children to step outside and enjoy the physical and mental benefits of growing up in nature. OutGrown’s mission is to “empower families with babies and young children to step outside and enjoy the physical and mental benefits of growing up in nature.”  I am excited about the next step for this unique organization. Its recent rebranding to “OutGrown” better reflects its true purpose and serves as an umbrella name to encompass three program pillars:  Turn the Blues Green - which supports new parents in going outside with their newborns which can be a powerful tool for overcoming postpartum depression. Bring it Outside - a program to help families build a habit of getting outside and overcome challenges such as accessibility Hike it Baby - focused on community-led events such as hikes Together, these programs are helping families grow up outside, becoming OutGrown. Turn The Blues Green Program The first reason that I was drawn to this amazing organization (at that time called Hike it Baby) was because of the importance of hiking with both my children was to me during my paternity leave with them. Both of them were born in the winter, and one was born immediately before the Covid pandemic began. This meant there was a lot of isolation and my mental health wasn’t where I wanted it to be.  One of the most effective ways that I compensated and dealt with this was hiking with them in a carrier throughout D.C. I hiked so much during one month of leave that our entire family hiked every single mile of every single trail of Rock Creek National Park (close to 40 miles).  The Turn The Blues Green Program is a pioneering maternal mental health program. It is our tool, our solution, to help new parents combat the Baby Blues, to reduce that feeling of isolation many new moms face, and to nurture relationships with the natural world from the very beginning.  As one supporter said, "Venturing out on a stroller walk with our newborn was an incredibly freeing experience. It was like we had collectively been holding our breath since becoming new parents, and getting out into nature allowed us to finally exhale and realize we could manage this new parent thing!"   Bring it Outside Program One of the issues I have seen over and over again in my professional work defending public lands is the lack of accessibility and diversity for those enjoying our public lands. One of We Are Outgrown’s pillars of work is The Bring it Outside (BiO) program—which meets families where they are and supports them in getting outside in the ways that work best for their families.  Experiencing the benefits of being outside doesn’t need to be about climbing the biggest mountain or hiking the Appalachian Trail, it needs to be about whatever works for you. BiO develops tools and activities and hosts workshops and events for families year-round. This helps break down accessibility issues and gives them opportunities to enjoy the outdoors in whatever way works for them. Hike it Baby Program Hiking clubs are ubiquitous in our country, but what is far more rare is a nationwide hiking club that is focused on hiking with young children, and provides the infrastructure and support to volunteer leaders to make it easy and welcoming.  That’s exactly what the Hike it Baby program does— it specifically works to help families build a habit of getting outside, despite challenges such as accessibility. OutGrown was started as a small hiking club in Portland, Oregon, but now exists in more than 270 communities.  If you are looking for a family-oriented hiking club, I would highly encourage you to join. And whether you are looking for a hiking club or not, if there is a way for you to support this organization, please do! https://hikeitbaby.networkforgood.com/
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Essentials for Fall Family Travel Adventures
Brought to you in partnership with our friends at Turtle Fur This blog post features sponsored content, where we have partnered with a brand or company to bring you valuable information or promotions and, we may receive compensation for featuring the content within this post. Keep everyone comfy, fed and safe this season When the leaves begin to change and the cold air returns, animals thicken their fur and people venture out to enjoy the crisp fall days. We’ve got tips, tricks and treats to keep the whole family having fun while staying comfy, happy and safe during your fall travel adventures! What to wear (layers, layers, layers!) for outdoor adventures in the fall Fall tends to vary in temperatures and can be cold enough for warm coats in the morning and warm enough for short sleeves by afternoon. Be sure to dress in layers for the day when heading out. We suggest a nice wool base layer and outer garments that are easy to take on/off for everyone. Accessories like hats and gloves may be too much for temps at low altitudes–items like the Totally Tubular comfort shell from Turtle Fur are versatile and not too hot or too cold for fall days. What to pack for fall family travel Whether by bike, car, plane or boat—you need to have items on hand that will keep the family hydrated, fed and happy! Need inspiration for what to pack in your bag or luggage? Camera Binoculars Snacks Thermos with hot drink Nature guidebooks Extra clothes and outerwear Be prepared and stay safe wherever your travels take you Safety first! It’s important to keep up with weather and road conditions and have emergency supplies and plans in place in case things change as you travel. Stay informed: check local weather forecasts and travel conditions.  Backup maps and batteries: in case electronic navigation and communications go down, have paper maps and chargers or batteries prepared. Emergency kit: keep a well-stocked kit with first-aid supplies, blankets, flashlights, extra batteries, multi-tools and non-perishable snacks in a vehicle or backpack. The days are shorter but the scenery is spectacular! Whether you are leaf-peeping or traveling to see friends and family, it’s important to have the essentials to keep your family safe and happy on your fall outdoor adventures.
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How to Find the Best Merino Wool Clothing for the Entire Family
This blog post features sponsored content, where we have partnered with a brand or company to bring you valuable information or promotions and, we may receive compensation for featuring the content within this post.  We’ve long touted the benefits of wearing wool on outdoor adventures at OutGrown–but there can be an overwhelming selection to choose from. The best merino wool will be convenient to use and wear, a long-lasting investment, comfortable to wear, and have sustainable practices in its production.  Here’s what to look for when purchasing merino wool clothing for your family: Merino wool helps parents work smarter, not harder Good-quality merino wool will make life more convenient–not an added hassle. According to Emma-Jane at Smalls Merino, some Merino wool clothing can be machine washable and should retain its shape and softness after air-drying.  It can take a lot of work to get all the layers on little ones in colder months. Merino wool’s itch-free texture and comfort will help everyone enjoy their outdoor play longer without complaining of being too hot or too cold, too wet or too itchy–so you can stay outside and play longer! An investment for all seasons Merino wool clothing is an investment. Quality merino wool will be durable enough to withstand the wear and tear of adults and children for years of use–making them great for hand-me-downs or repurposing.  And those favorite pieces aren’t just for winter! Merino wool keeps you warm in the winter and can be as equally comfortable for lightweight pajamas and loungewear, and as a base layer for outdoor adventures year-round.  T-shirt feel with the benefits of wool Unlike traditional wool, merino wool is incredibly soft and smooth. It feels more like your favorite t-shirt than a scratchy sweater. This makes it perfect for even the most sensitive in your family–from delicate baby skin to eczema-prone skin. Merino wool has natural odor-resistant properties that keep everyone smelling fresh even after a day of play. It regulates temperature, keeping you warm when it's cold and cool when it's hot, and it wicks moisture away from the skin, keeping you dry and comfortable on any adventure outdoors. Sustainable practices and biodegradable properties Merino wool is a sustainable choice because it is biodegradable and has a natural resistance to odors and stains–resulting in less washing that, in turn, conserves water and energy. The best ultra-fine and sustainable merino wool products can be fully traced back to the farms where the sheep are raised and have a transparent supply chain. Wrapping it up Feel like wrapping up in some extra-comfy, sustainable and convenient merino wool layers? Look for the best quality, family-friendly, ultra-fine merino wool products that are convenient, comfortable, sustainable and a good investment for the entire family. Need a suggestion? Our friends at Smalls Merino check all the boxes and are offering OutGrown members a special discount code! 
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Books to Help You Celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day
On October 9, we celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day, recognizing the Native Americans as the first inhabitants of the land we live on here in North America.  Not sure how to introduce the topic to your kiddos? OutGrown Bookclub has got you covered! With suggestions from Board Books to nonfiction for teens, we have titles for all ages.       Board Books (Age 6 months- 4 years old) Books specifically geared towards the celebration of this day are limited for our littlest readers, so we have also included some titles from Native American authors that introduce our readers to their culture: We All Count: A Book of Cree Numbers by Julie Flett  Tribe: Cree-Metis Count along with Cree numbers!  An introduction to Cree culture with beautiful illustrations, “We All Count” is sure to be a favorite for even the littlest readers in your family.     Good Morning, World by Paul Windsor Tribe: Haisla and Heiltsuk (First Nations, Canada) Good Morning World features vibrant Native American art, and is engaging as it helps children appreciate what Mother Nature provides.  It is also a wonderful book full of pictures for even non-reading kiddos to look through over and over again.   Picture Books (Ages 4-8) All Around Us by Xelena Gonzalez Tribe: Tap Pilam Coahuiltecan Nation This award-winning book celebrates community and relationships within families and nature.  It’s an engaging and beautiful picture book telling the story of a Latinx family that readers of all ages can appreciate.   Indigenous Peoples' Day by Dr. Katrina Phillips Tribe: Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe All about the celebration of Indigenous Peoples Day, this book shares the history of the holiday in easy to understand terms, as well as Native American traditions.  It is a wonderful introduction to Native American culture and even touches on the concept of land acknowledgement.   The People Shall Continue by Simon J. Ortiz  Tribe: Acoma Pueblo This story is written to be read aloud in the rhythm of traditional oral narrative and shares the history of land being taken from the Indigenous Peoples throughout North America.  It is written from the Native American perspective and offers a powerful summary of what Native American tribes suffered when losing their lands, in a way that children can understand. Middle Grades (Ages 8 - 12) Indian No More by Charlene Willing McManis (Tribe: Umpqua/Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde) and Traci Sorell (Tribe: Cherokee) This multi-award winning read shares the heartbreaking story of a family relocated from the reserve they have known their whole life, to Los Angeles, during the Civil Rights Era. The family faces relentless racism, as they struggle to find their place in a world they have been forced into by the government.     Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians But Were Afraid to Ask: Young Readers Edition by Anton Treuer  (Tribe: Ojibwe) This Q&A style book answers all of the questions that young readers may have about Native Americans in an easy-to-read and understand format.  Tackling basic questions and even the tough stuff like racism and politics, this is a must-read for your middle schoolers that might have questions about Native Americans and their culture but do not know how to ask them!  Teen (Ages 13+) An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People by Debbie Reese (Tribe: Nambé Owingeh) and Jean Mendoza (Adapted from An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States By: Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz) This book has been adapted for teens and young adult readers, but you may find yourself picking it up too! It is written by an Indigenous human rights advocate, who does not sugarcoat the history that many teens have yet to hear in school.  It speaks to the resistance efforts and resilience of the Native American tribes and will help all readers reflect on the history that we are all a part of.   Share with us your favorite books to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day!   ABOUT OUTGROWN OutGrown is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that works to create a world where everyone can enjoy the physical and mental benefits of spending time outside. We are focused on creating opportunities and removing barriers to access so families with babies and young children can take their first steps outside. We believe all families have the right to connect with nature, benefit from spending time outdoors and be inspired to a lifelong love of nature. Since its grassroots inception in 2013 as Hike it Baby, OutGrown is a growing community of 280,000 families and over 300 volunteers. You can find additional information on all of our programs at WeAreOutGrown.org EDITOR’S NOTE: We're thrilled that you are reading this article from OutGrown. Our team is dedicated to bringing you valuable content and resources that inform, inspire, and entertain. However, creating quality content comes with its costs. It's the result of the dedication and hard work of our writers, editors, and volunteers who truly believe in the mission of connecting families with young children to nature and fostering community. As a non-profit organization, we rely on the support of our amazing community. If you are in a position to help, we kindly ask for your contribution to help us expand our reach and continue providing valuable content for everyone. No matter the amount, every contribution counts and allows us to keep growing and making a difference together.  
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Celebrate Babywearing With Hike it Baby's Top 5 Blog Posts on Babywearing
Happy Babywearing Month! Each year people all over the world celebrate babywearing during the month of October! Not only is the sense of community around babywearing heightened, expanded, and enjoyed, but there is also a focus is spreading babywearing magic with others. Caregivers everywhere share their babywearing stories, introduce others to the joys and benefits of babywearing, and the cultural and historical babywearing traditions are learned and passed on. It is an important month and OutGrown is celebrating too! Since babywearing has become popular in Western culture, it has changed the way we experience the outdoors with our families. Whether you are using a ring sling, stretchy wrap, or soft structure carrier for a walk around your neighborhood or using a frame carrier or soft structure carrier and hitting the trail for a day-long hike, we rely on wearing our babies to make it easier to get outside with our kiddos every day. Even those toddlers with tired legs go up into the carrier once in a while (they make toddler carriers too)! In celebration of babywearing, Hike it Baby is sharing our top 5 blog posts on wearing our babies and toddlers, as well as some important links to additional babywearing information. Our Top 5 Babywearing Blog Posts 1. How Babywearing Benefits You and Your Child Anyone who has experience with babywearing will tell you that it definitely has its benefits. However, there are actual studies out there that provide scientific evidence for these benefits, and it turns out there are many! 2. How to Babywear in the Rain Tips to keep you, your baby, and your carrier dry! 3. How to Tandem Babywear While Hiking More children also mean more tired little legs. You may need to enter the realm of tandem wearing – wearing two children in carriers at once. Here are some general tandem wearing tips to get you started. 4. How to Layer When Babywearing in the Cold Winter is right around the corner! Wearing your baby is a great way to keep baby safe, dry, and warm in winter weather. Get those layers right and you'll be happy on the trail all winter long! 5. Ways to Get Back On the Trail After Having a Baby Being able to wear your baby on the trail is key to getting back outside after baby. But, it's only one component. Check out these tips and advice from our Hike it Baby community to make it easier to get back into nature after having a baby. Additional Babywearing Information Babywearing Basics - Learn all about different carriers, safety tips, and more. International Babywearing Week - This celebration also occurs in October and is all about promoting babywearing across the world! This celebratory week was created by the now-defunct organization Babywearing International, but volunteers stepped up have kept this annual tradition going. Black Babywearing Week - This June celebration is all about uplifting and inspiring black babywearers, while also unifying black babywearing educators, bloggers, and black-owned babywearing companies. Are you planning on hitting the trail to celebrate babywearing month? Visit https://weareoutgrown.org/events to see if there is a scheduled hike near you! Photos courtesy of Deanna Curry and Jessica Human. ABOUT OUTGROWN OutGrown is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that works to create a world where everyone can enjoy the physical and mental benefits of spending time outside. We are focused on creating opportunities and removing barriers to access so families with babies and young children can take their first steps outside. We believe all families have the right to connect with nature, benefit from spending time outdoors and be inspired to a lifelong love of nature. Since its grassroots inception in 2013 as Hike it Baby, OutGrown is a growing community of 280,000 families and over 300 volunteers. You can find additional information on all of our programs at WeAreOutGrown.org EDITOR’S NOTE: We're thrilled that you are reading this article from OutGrown. Our team is dedicated to bringing you valuable content and resources that inform, inspire, and entertain. However, creating quality content comes with its costs. It's the result of the dedication and hard work of our writers, editors, and volunteers who truly believe in the mission of connecting families with young children to nature and fostering community. As a non-profit organization, we rely on the support of our amazing community. If you are in a position to help, we kindly ask for your contribution to help us expand our reach and continue providing valuable content for everyone. No matter the amount, every contribution counts and allows us to keep growing and making a difference together.        
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Meet Bring it Outside, one of OutGrown’s core community programs
CREATED IN PARTNERSHIP WITH OUR FRIENDS AT L.L.BEAN Time spent together outdoors as a family and with community is the focus for OutGrown’s “Bring it Outside” program. We encourage and support parents in getting outside with their children by providing pathways and nurturing relationships that lead to a life-long love of nature. It all began with a hike—a venture outdoors that was much more than a breath of fresh air and stretching of legs with babies in tow. It was the start of a supportive community and an opportunity to overcome the isolation that new parents often experience. Making friends and finding judgment-free environments and low-pressure spaces in which to breathe fresh air are integral in helping new families build connections and habits of spending time together outside. It’s the power of community building in action—something we witnessed as our organization grew—but we realized that those who may need this community the most were challenged by accessibility or lack of support. As an organization, we knew that getting outside was beneficial for children and parents alike—but there was something missing So, we set out to find ways to bridge those gaps. Bridging the Gap Our organization started with community-led hike events that any family could lead, and every family was welcome to join. Thousands of adults, babies, and young children have joined an average of 1,200 hike events each month across North America.  And yet, we see a gap in who shows up.  We realized that families who might need us most—families experiencing higher rates of stress, more isolation, with less support, and fewer resources due to cultural, physical, socio-economic, language, and other barriers integral to their identities—were not showing up and joining our events.  We asked why and began to understand the gaps in our programming that made it difficult. Some of these gaps include language barriers, transportation issues, homes where both parents work full-time jobs, lack of exposure or experience with getting outside as a healthy opportunity, a sense that going outside was either not safe or not welcoming for their particular family due to historical exclusion, social interactions that felt unsafe, or other experiences that didn’t build positive relationships with the idea of going outside.  That’s when we built the “Bring it Outside” program.  Bring it Outside offers a solution, led by community We began working with community organizations that provide resources to these families so we could learn how to best serve them. We connected with community partners that support families in the local area, from early learning hubs to hospitals, land managers, and everything in between. Including other organizations in our programming helps weave a more robust network of support that can last beyond a single encounter with a family. Then we built a workshop series and facilitator training to offer hands-on learning opportunities that answered questions about the basics of getting outside. We applied for grants and worked with outdoor brands to get funding and gear donations. We hired facilitators that represented the communities we were trying to serve, spoke the languages of the families we wanted to connect with, and who could directly identify with the challenges families face—and importantly—who also wanted to share their love and passion for getting outside. Bring it Outside’s ultimate goal Our ultimate goal is to get more families into the outdoors together—for little ones to grow up with a positive connection to nature, for parents to feel comfortable and support each other getting outside, and to help them build community and empower them to host regular outdoor events and activities. The result: a long-lasting and self-sustained OutGrown community hub.  Today, our Bring it Outside program offers a series of facilitated workshops to the families we look to serve.    Each workshop has a how-to component, a hands-on activity or engagement, and a community-building element. We aim to host workshops in the same place and time in nearby nature spaces that are accessible for the community we are serving.  Printed materials, curriculum, and conversation are  offered in different languages based on the needs of our participants and surrounding community. We also provide support in the form of transportation,  gear, materials, supplies, and snacks. We ensure our facilitators are ready to answer questions, help, and generally make each workshop a fun, low-barrier opportunity for families to connect, bond, and build confidence.  At the end of the program series, we offer a one-day family festival that brings together the families in the program, extends an invitation to  other families in the community, and have local organizations bring tables and activities to share about their services while engaging families in a fun day outside.  Beyond our workshops, our facilitators host regular hike events in their local community. They use the same Hike it Baby/OutGrown framework of “hike” being a loose term that includes park and plays, urban strolls, and more traditional trail hikes.  It’s amazing to see what we have become as an organization and community. We can’t do it alone It requires much hard work to find funding, build and support community relationships, and identify, train, and support the local facilitators who make this program possible. However, we are seeing great success so far and have an overwhelming request to keep it going where we have started it and spread it to more communities.  Partnerships and support from those like L.L.Bean has allowed us to help Latinx and immigrant families, rural families in southern Oregon, refugee families in the Portland Metro area, and Latina women in Elizabeth, NJ.  If you would like to learn more about Bring it Outside and how to get involved nationally or in your local community, please contact us at [email protected].  Click below to play our Bring it Outside Video. Video:    Photographs by Jenn Canjar ABOUT OUTGROWN OutGrown is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that works to create a world where everyone can enjoy the physical and mental benefits of spending time outside. We are focused on creating opportunities and removing barriers to access so families with babies and young children can take their first steps outside. We believe all families have the right to connect with nature, benefit from spending time outdoors and be inspired to a lifelong love of nature. Since its grassroots inception in 2013 as Hike it Baby, OutGrown is a growing community of 280,000 families and over 300 volunteers. You can find additional information on all of our programs at WeAreOutGrown.org   EDITOR’S NOTE: We're thrilled that you are reading this article from OutGrown. Our team is dedicated to bringing you valuable content and resources that inform, inspire, and entertain. However, creating quality content comes with its costs. It's the result of the dedication and hard work of our writers, editors, and volunteers who truly believe in the mission of connecting families with young children to nature and fostering community.   As a non-profit organization, we rely on the support of our amazing community. If you are in a position to help, we kindly ask for your contribution to help us expand our reach and continue providing valuable content for everyone. No matter the amount, every contribution counts and allows us to keep growing and making a difference together.
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Inspiring Ways to Celebrate the Fall Equinox with Your Family
What is the Fall Equinox? Also called the Autumnal or September equinox, the fall equinox marks the beginning of fall in the Northern Hemisphere and occurs on September 23 this year. Derived from the Latin term for “equal night,” the equinox marks one of two days throughout the year when the sun shines directly on the equator, making the length of day and night approximately equal. While the end of summer can spark disappointment for some (especially some of our school-aged kiddos), fall can bring some of the best and most beautiful outdoor adventures. Between the cooling temperatures, the changing colors, and the harvest activities, there are plenty of ways to welcome fall. Check out these activities, crafts, and books to help you celebrate the coming of fall with your family. Activities Go on a “signs of fall” family hike: Encourage your kiddos to search for changes in plant life that signify the start of fall such as leaf color, an abundance of mushrooms and other fungi, acorns and pinecones on the ground, etc. The air may also smell different due to these changes along with the blooming of fall flowers such as mums and chrysanthemums. Look up and you may see birds starting to migrate to warmer climates. Listen closely to hear the mating calls of bats, elk, and other animals. Visit an orchard or pumpkin patch: Nothing says fall quite like taking advantage of the ripening of fall harvest plants such as apples and pumpkins. Create a family tradition by visiting a nearby pick-your-own apple orchard or pumpkin patch each year. Create a fall nature table: Creating a space where your kids can place items that remind them of fall is a great way to kick-off the season! It can be as small or big as you want, and the items that you place on it can vary widely. You can include leaves of different shapes and colors, acorns or “helicopter” seeds, fall crafts (see below), etc. Or better yet, following principles of “leave no trace”, you can take photos of these items in nature to include on your table. Check out these articles for more fun fall activities and hike ideas. Craft Ideas  Leaf Crafts: Take advantage of the gorgeous leaf colors while also teaching kids a lesson on chlorophyll and the life cycle of a leaf. Don’t live in an area with an abundance of leaf change? You can also make these crafts with fake leaves found at a craft store. Acorn cap and marble necklace/ornament: With the vast amount of fallen acorns this time of year, creating jewelry and ornaments are fun and easy ways to recycle their caps. For this craft project, you just need acorn caps, colorful marbles, string/twine, and a glue gun (a drill is optional) to create gorgeous jewelry and ornaments. Pine Cone Pets: Pine cones can be used in numerous craft projects. For this project, all you need are pinecones, googly eyes, a glue gun and any other craft scraps you may have lying around (such as felt or pipe cleaners). Have your kids design their own “pets” and place them around the house as fun fall décor. Fall Books to Read As the saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” These beautifully illustrated books help children of all ages understand what happens as summer turns to fall and the plants shed their leaves as the days get shorter. Birth – 3 years Leaves By: David Ezra SteinFollow a young bear as he experiences his first autumn in this charming tale of fall. Bear is worried when he notices all the leaves falling off the trees. He attempts to reattach them to no avail. He gets so tired that he falls into a deep hibernation sleep. What will he find when he wakes up? Because of an Acorn By: Lola M. Schaefer and Adam SchaeferCaptivating illustrations show the important connections within an ecosystem. Young children can learn how every tree, flower, plant, and animal connect to one another in the forest. Apples and Pumpkins By Anne Rockwell Join a little girl as she enjoys a lovely fall day picking apples and searching for the perfect pumpkin. This book is available in both a board book version for the youngest readers and a longer version for preschoolers. 4 Years and Up Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn, By Kenard Pak Join a young girl as she says good-bye to summer and welcomes autumn. Through a series of conversations with every flower and creature and gust of wind she encounters, she greets all the signs of the coming season while on a walk through forest and town. We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt, By Steve Metzger Follow three friends on a hike over a mountain and through a forest as they collect leaves of all kinds and colors. The easy rhyming text and fun sound effects make this rollicking autumn story fun for all ages. Leaf Man, By Lois Ehlert Join the narrator as they imagine where the leaf man may travel as he blows along with the wind. The die-cut pages reveal gorgeous landscape vistas and aide in sparking a child’s imagination while celebrating the beauty of autumn. How does your family celebrate the Fall Equinox? Let us know in the comments below! Photography by Ashley Scheider and Amy Diebold. ABOUT OUTGROWN OutGrown is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that works to create a world where everyone can enjoy the physical and mental benefits of spending time outside. We are focused on creating opportunities and removing barriers to access so families with babies and young children can take their first steps outside. We believe all families have the right to connect with nature, benefit from spending time outdoors and be inspired to a lifelong love of nature. Since its grassroots inception in 2013 as Hike it Baby, OutGrown is a growing community of 280,000 families and over 300 volunteers. You can find additional information on all of our programs at WeAreOutGrown.org EDITOR’S NOTE: We're thrilled that you are reading this article from OutGrown. Our team is dedicated to bringing you valuable content and resources that inform, inspire, and entertain. However, creating quality content comes with its costs. It's the result of the dedication and hard work of our writers, editors, and volunteers who truly believe in the mission of connecting families with young children to nature and fostering community. As a non-profit organization, we rely on the support of our amazing community. If you are in a position to help, we kindly ask for your contribution to help us expand our reach and continue providing valuable content for everyone. No matter the amount, every contribution counts and allows us to keep growing and making a difference together.  
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Mi Madre Tierra de Oaxaca: Alejandrina's Story
This blog is part of our Elevating Voices series in partnership with    Meet Alejandria Felipe. Ale is one of Hike it Baby’s Bring it Outside program facilitators and ran the first Turn the Blues Green program series. She’s a mama to two amazing kiddos, and works full time as an Obstetric Nurse in Portland, Oregon.  Photo: Andrea Leoncavallo @lionhorsephoto My Childhood Connection to Nature I was born in a small town in Oaxaca. I moved to Oregon at 8-years-old. My memories of Oaxaca were always very green and of clean air. At the time, my family in Oaxaca would harvest fruits, vegetables, and corn. I clearly remember picking my own oranges, mangos, and watermelon. After school, we would spend time taking care of the animals and crops. Therefore, my connection to nature was well established from birth.   Alejandrina's daughter and mother in Oaxaca, Mexico. When my family arrived in Oregon, we lived in farming camps, picking strawberries and blueberries. We were isolated from the city because my parents were farm workers. We spent a lot of time outdoors working. At the end of the day, we had very little time to do fun activities. But, we were all happy because we were outside, and it still felt like being in our native country.  My upbringing and early memories of Oaxaca provided me with a connection to nature that my other fellow classmates did not have. When you come to the city, and you come to the United States, a lot of families, due to economic barriers, are forced to live in crowded apartments . As a young teen, I did not see the connection of my childhood in Oaxaca to nature, but now as an adult I can see how those early exposures were fundamental. I would miss my time playing in the farm, building houses with rocks and dirt. I simply missed cooking outside and camping, it was our routine in Oaxaca. Our family was fortunate to have a close friendship with an American couple, who took us under their wing, they literally adopted us and took us on outdoor adventures. The couple had the means to take us on day trips to National Parks, to lakes, and out to enjoy walks. Walking on the farm in Oaxaca. I  think the biggest thing that we can do as parents in building a connection to nature with our kids is to simply take them outside. How Parents Can Nurture a Connection to Nature For Their Families Let them be free in an open space, whether that is in our backyards, or a park. As they play freely they are building a connection to nature and learning through sensory play. As the pandemic became our new reality, I would let my 2-year-old be outside and soak up the sun with me. I needed to get outdoors, my stress level was less once I got outside. I was able to clear my mind for a few minutes and just breathe. However, this might not be the case for many families. Working families have many disparities that put them at disadvantages in enjoying the outdoors. I would get intimidated to be around experienced hikers, I would start asking myself, “am I wearing the correct carrier, stroller, hiking gear?” But then I realized none of those things matter. I became confident, started walking with supportive friends, and we all learned along the way. Getting outdoors with children should not be that hard.  We need to make the outdoors more equitable and normalize what it means to be outdoorsy. I am fortunate to have the means to access nature with my family and expose my kids to green spaces. They are nature conscientious because I took them outside from birth. My pregnancy and postpartum period were all about being outdoors as much as possible. My self-care today still involves a walk outside. When the opportunity came to connect to Hike it Baby, and for me to lead a group of Latina moms, I was excited because this is what I want to do! We started from the basics, like kinds of strollers and carriers to use. Carriers can be scary when you don't know how to use them, it’s one thing seeing someone using it, and it's another thing putting it on and strapping your baby in.  By getting more families of color outdoors, and normalizing what it means to be adventurous and outdoorsy, we will create a new generation of outdoor community. As parents, we need more education, we need to give families the tools that they need to explore the outdoors. Alejandrina leading her group of moms on a hike as part of Hike it Baby's Turn the Blues Green Program. La Cuarantena: Dismantling Myths about Postpartum Health There are many myths in our Latino community about the postpartum period and what that means for new mothers. For example, la "Cuarentena." During this period, postpartum mothers are told to stay in bed, have minimal walking, no lifting heavy items, drink warm fluids only, don’t be exposed to cold air, and to wear an abdominal binder (la faja). Plus, our babies must be bundled with many blankets, hats, and mittens, regardless of the weather. Part of my teaching as an Obstetric Nurse is to explain and share with new moms about the importance of moving after having their babies and of decreasing layers on babies for their safety, and to talk to them about SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).  I love the idea of a Cuarentana as a supportive family care package. During the postpartum period, every mom is exhausted, and benefits from outside support. However, that does not mean staying indoors with your baby for 40 days. As a new mom, getting outside is a must. Being inside the home is depressing. Postpartum depression is very common, therefore its important to have ways to cope, and sometimes getting outside is your best option. Newborns will sleep better, and mom gets some time to herself walking.  My Advice for New Moms Get outside, regardless of cultural beliefs. Taking care of your mind and soul is your personal decision. Whether you’re a first time mom, or it’s your second time, the stress and lack of sleep never changes. Therefore, getting outdoors, breathing in the fresh air, looking at new scenery, it all really helps with depression.  Then, find a group of friends, family, another new mom, someone to walk with you and your baby. Spending outdoor time with friends makes it all the more valuable, and you can share the challenges motherhood brings. Last, do not be afraid or concerned whether or not you have the correct equipment to be outside. Your babies are excited to simply be moving and with you. Watch's Ale's Story Here ABOUT OUTGROWN OutGrown is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that works to create a world where everyone can enjoy the physical and mental benefits of spending time outside. We are focused on creating opportunities and removing barriers to access so families with babies and young children can take their first steps outside. We believe all families have the right to connect with nature, benefit from spending time outdoors and be inspired to a lifelong love of nature. Since its grassroots inception in 2013 as Hike it Baby, OutGrown is a growing community of 280,000 families and over 300 volunteers. You can find additional information on all of our programs at WeAreOutGrown.org EDITOR’S NOTE: We're thrilled that you are reading this article from OutGrown. Our team is dedicated to bringing you valuable content and resources that inform, inspire, and entertain. However, creating quality content comes with its costs. 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