how to become an outdoorsy family
Ah, I love November. The last bits of autumn are bursting with color, the air is breezy, and it’s hard not to be in love with everything outdoors. Even my most city-dwelling, tent-hating friends have Instagram feeds littered with vibrant fall leaves and outdoor excursions. It is the perfect season to decide to be an outdoorsy family. You know, the kind of family that is constantly outside and loving it?
Every year, we spend more and more of our time out hiking trails, sleeping in a tent and traveling further down the road. I just can’t ever get enough! 90% of my favorite family memories (both as a kid and now with my own kids) are from time spent outdoors. With all of the modern distractions, there just is no other way to get pure, unfiltered family time anywhere other than outside. If you want to become an outdoorsy family, you should!
join the community
When you dedicate your family to the outdoor adventure life, you’ll find yourself in a huge, welcoming community. One of my favorite parts of camping is meeting our camp neighbors and the same goes for other outdoor activities. Connecting with other outdoorsy families will give you a jumpstart in advice, inspiration, tips and general support. Join the community now by following blogs/social media accounts that are adventure-based. Also link up with locals through adventure groups, Facebook groups and word of mouth. Being an outdoorsy family is INFINITELY more fun when enjoyed with like-minded families.
start small and local
Now that social media has filled you with inspiration, it’s time to get outdoors. Do your family a favor, and start small, especially if you have very young kids. Children (and, okay yeah, some adults too) require time to build stamina, endurance and general fondness of being active outdoors. The key word in this post is “outdoors”. Being outdoors is as simple as walking into your backyard. Start your adventure journey by ticking off local hikes, parks, preserves and bodies of water.
make it a routine
Practice makes permanent! Plan to get outside as a family every single week. On weeks that you cannot travel far or for long, visit local preserves or hike local trails. Of course, every family’s schedule is different, so you may need a different routine, like setting aside 3-4 days a month for a family trip (camping, cabin stay, etc). Figure out what works for your family and stick to it – don’t let too much time pass between outdoor excursions. If one parent can’t make it, don’t skip your outdoor day – invite a friend or family to join! If you are serious about becoming an outdoorsy family, make room in your life to become one.
find your passions
The term “outdoorsy family” encompasses a LOT and you’re never going to have the time, energy and money to do it all. Find out what outdoor sports/activities fit your family. Choose activities for all seasons like downhill skiing in the winter, kayaking in the summer, camping and hiking in the spring and fall… Get really good at one thing and watch the passion grow! This reminds me of another point – don’t try to compete with those who “do it all”. Most parents struggle with comparing themselves/their children to others. Save yourself the burnout and let it go – stick to just a few outdoor activities you are great at!
get the gear
Once you figure out what your family’s outdoor passions are, stock up on gear. Do your research first – lots of it – then invest in your new, active lifestyle. The more prepared and comfortable you all are, the more you will enjoy your excursions. Each year, build your collection along with your experience. Talk to other adventurers to see what their must-have gear is and you’ll soon have the perfect arsenal of outdoor living gear.
mix it up and get creative
Don’t let the next hike just be another hike, or the next camping trip just another camping trip. Make each trip unique and exciting by incorporating something new. This is mostly for those with young kids who may grow bored easily. For example, I try to incorporate something new in each camping trip like: binoculars/birding book, nature journal, bocce ball set, kites, etc… it doesn’t matter what, just get creative and watch the excitement grow within your children as they wonder what the next trip will be like.
This idea is great for hikes too like on today’s explorations in Oak Knoll. Can you guess what made Gabriel’s day so much brighter?
Yep, a super sweet, handmade slingshot. We’re taking it old school today, folks!
Gabe scored this slingshot at a homeschool event (colonial life themed) earlier in the fall and couldn’t get the hang of it. This day trip, we spent a lot of time gathering acorns and learning how to shoot them in the slingshot. I’m happy to report, we all still have working eyeballs.
Above all, keep the kids happy. When the kids are not happy, any outdoor trip will sour. Make sure they are comfortable (seasonally appropriate clothing, durable shoes), having fun (new and challenging experiences) and, for gosh sakes, bring all of the snacks. FOOD. Yes, food is the key to smiles out on the trail, slope, river, or campsite. Stick to nourishing foods that taste good like Happy Kid Fruit & Oat Bars.
Any outdoor-adventuring family knows that nutritious trail food is like gold. I always keep a large variety of portable trail snacks in my pantry; you never know when your next adventure might happen! Happy Kid Fruit & Oat Bars are a favorite with my kids. I love them because they combine oats and milled flaxseeds with real organic dates and other fruits.
Happy Kid Fruit & Oat Bars contain no added sugar, no preservatives, no artificial flavors or colors… Kids only need real, organic, non-GMO ingredients, nothing more! Happy Kid Fruit & Oat Bars are gluten-free as well (so this gluten-free mom might sneak one here and there!).
Happy Kid Fruit & Nut Bars are perfect for active kids ages 3-8 – real ingredients, real good flavor. I found these two varieties at Sprouts: Blueberry + Raspberry and Apple + Cinnamon. I also ordered a third flavor: Banana + Chocolate from Amazon so I can stock up for future adventures, school days and road trips. If you order from Amazon you get a really great deal + it is available for Subscribe & Save.