When is the last time you took your family on an outing?
How about the last time you took a family outing that was a real adventure?
An adventure that did not include watching a movie or staring at a phone or tablet?
Our lives are busy- our kids running from school to extracurricular activities, and parents running from work, to kid activities, and fitting in making dinner, and grocery store and shopping errands. Most of our days are spent in organized activities that don’t change much from day to day. We all need time to disconnect from our electronics, and our busy schedules and get outside.
Spending time outdoors whether it’s reading outside, or going on a hike or bike ride allows us to recharge, to breathe in fresh air and slow down. Our bodies need time to slow down. The best way to encourage our kids to get outside regularly is to do family activities that incorporate time outside.
A few of the things we do as a family when we can are:
Go Camping – We regulary plan camping trips with other families for long weekends. The kids play and hang out outside all day with their friends doing all sorts of activities. Seriously, you don’t even have to rough it. Many campgrounds have nice cabins, glamping tents you can rent and you can even rent a camper to be delivered to the campground to stay in. We often camp on the Bay so the kids go crabing and paddle boarding, fishing and swimming.
Go Hiking – The great thing about hiking is there are usually spots nearby you can get to to go on a hike with your family. It doesn’t matter if it’s in the moutains, or near the shore- there are usually paths you can take. I love hiking because you can pick how long of a hike you want to take and the kids can usually go ahead a bit to run around.
Go GeoCaching – If you haven’t heard of geocaching- it is like a scavenger hunt- you go to the geocaching site and get coordinates of geocaches near you and then you try to locate them- they are usually small hidden boxes that have item trinkets in them. The idea is you take an item and leave something for someone else to find. It’s a fun group activity that let’s everyone learn a bit, explore and get a little surprise.
Go on a Bike Ride – Kids love riding bikes, especially when mom or dad will join them for a biking adventure. Even if it just a short 15 minute bike ride in your neighborhood it let’s your family get outside, bond and make memories together.
Go to the Beach or Moutains- we live near the beach so our go to is to spend time at the beach over the summer- the kids boogie boarding, and throughing a frisbee or football and building sand castles. There is just something special about hearing the waves crash and watch the water move back and forth. Pack a lunch and go enjoy the outdoors.
Go Fossil or Shell Hunting – whether we are in our hometown or on vacation we find out if there are any spots to look for shells or fossils nearby and make a day trip out of it. When we have hunted for Shark teeth in Florida, I’m not sure who had more fun hunting for shark teeth- our kids or us.
Go on a Walk – Get in a habit of going on a walk with your kids. It’s great and simple exercise and it helps lower stress.
Have a Picnic – I think picnics are underrated. Whether you make a homemade picnic or pick up prepared food- grab a blanket and find an open field or park, grab a football or frisbee and spend a few hours together enjoying lunch and family time- some of my fondest memories when my kids were smaller were of having a picnic at the park as they ran and played and kept coming back to eat.
Go to the Park – we used to spend hours at our nearby park with friends- as the kids ran around and played tag and built forts, the parents would sit and chat and sometimes play games with the kids. Time at the park allows for socializing, and exploration and open-ended play.
Explore a State or National Park – We are fortnuate to live where there are hundreds of local, state and national parks for us to enjoy. Do a little research and make time to enjoy these natural gems.
Go Canoeing, Kayaking or Paddle Boarding– Getting on the water is such a fun time- there is plenty of places you can rent a canoe or kayak for the day or a few hours around the country at parks and on the beach or moutains- grab your sunscreen and get paddling. The adventure and stories that will come are ones you will all remember.
Most importantly remember new experiences, and getting outdoors allows us to spend time with our family, it teaches the kids they are capable of challenging their bodies, and that open space allows for open-ended play and exploration.
What do you do to get outside as a family?