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Getting Your Kids excited about the Outdoors

I was recently reading an article about how to get kids hooked on the outdoors. I found it quite engaging and I completely agreed with the 5 points discussed to get your kids excited about the outdoors.

Tom Stienstra, an outdoor guidebook expert offered the following five tips:

  • Guarantee your kids some action on the trip
  • Your enthusiasm is contagious
  • Demonstrating a given task to your kids is vital
  • Let your kids be kids
  • Be Grateful

I’d have to agree on all the above. Looking back at how we’ve approached energizing our kids about camping and the outdoors, I think we’ve done each of his suggestions more times than not. For every trip we do, there’s some kind of action for the kids to look forward to. It can be rappelling, swimming, checking out old structures – something, anything to get the kids excited.

As we love being outside, our enthusiasm naturally wears off on the kids. We seldom let events get us down, even when things get dicey. The kids watch us handle various situations and they naturally begin to mimic our behaviors.

We ALWAYS show the kids how to do a given camp task, how to climb over an obstacle, how to walk quietly when stalking game, etc. How else would they know what to do? They need us to lead by example.

Most of all, we do let our kids be kids, they get to stay up late, get real dirty (or wet) and on longer trips we usually bring a few “treats” along. Little plastic toys, or coloring pads that we bust out every couple of days. They are meant as surprises and treats for doing well on long hikes. Letting the kids be kids and not putting too many restrictions on them allows them to really enjoy the experience rather than dread our outings. I recently wrote an article that also speaks to camping with kids. It certainly can be a fantastic way to spend time with your family and a great way to interact with your children. We are certainly grateful for the time we get to spend with them – we make sure they know it.