Do you aspire to raise kids that LOVE the outdoors? Here’s a beginner’s guide:
Find a few spots in your week that you can fit in some outdoor time. Two times that work well for us are, right after lunch, but before nap time; or right after school. If we go after school, I make sure dinner is in the slow cooker, so I avoid cranky hungry monsters.
Find one outdoor place, that is easy to get to, and good for hanging out. I would aim for a natural area, that has interesting features, like trees, rocks, sticks, long grasses or a creek. When starting out, you’ll probably want to bring your kids to one spot and migrate every 15 to 30 minutes to a different spot. This can mean moving 10 feet further down the trail. This provides variety for kids that aren’t quite comfortable making up their own games yet. Eventually when kids are used to playing in nature, you’ll be able to settle in one spot for much longer periods… but you may still enjoy variety.
Dress yourself and kids appropriately to enjoy yourself. Bring along extra clothes and layers, especially for your kids 6 and under.
We have a “go bag” that stays in our garage that carries supplies that we want when going to the forest. This will vary for ages, experience level and interests, but things we have in our bag: a magnifying glass, shovels, hand rake, small saw, rope, whittling knife, wipes and band aids. We don’t have one, but a map and compass would be a great addition.
“I’m BOOoooOOred”… If this is happening, you may need to get your kids started in an activity, like helping them build a small fairy house, or dig for worms. However, back off as soon as they are into an activity. By playing independently, they are learning to use their imagination, and directing their own learning. It also gives you an opportunity to observe your children, and let their games and questions direct what topics you could learn about next.
Find a way to enjoy yourself outdoors. Bring a book, garden, watch the birds, read my blog for more ideas… (you know I had to!)
The last point is important: They are going to be messy!! Be prepared. Things that help, are a large boot mat, change of clothes ready, cloth to wipe hands, and PATIENCE!
Yes, it would be easier to just let your child veg out and become a couch potato… but you’d be missing out on the magic of raising a Wild Child!