I don’t get my kids outside everyday. I might want to take them outside and they won’t go. Or, maybe it’s cold and I don’t want to go outside either. Am I a hypocrite? Sometimes the kids just say “no” even if I’m standing at the door dressed and ready for adventure. I can’t force them, can I? Do you? What’s the big secret? How do we make our family be an outdoor family?
What’s the Secret to Having an Outdoor Family?
You’re a parent. Life’s busy, chaotic at times. You’re juggling tasks, responsibilities, roles, and identities all the time…. it doesn’t stop, or at least, not for long. But, you love being mom (or dad). Sure, you know you could do better. There’s that cloud of doubt, guilt, and missed opportunities following you around… yet, you’re managing. For the most part you’re happy; your kids are happy. You’re all one big happy, sometimes chaotic, busy, loving, normal, multifaceted family!
Parenting is crazy sometimes!
Because of that, I know that you’re always on the look-out for solutions and alternative ways of managing your family. You want what’s best for your little ones. You might be reluctant to jump on easy quick fixes or you might be vigilant of food choices, screen time, behaviour expectations, and schooling performance. But you’re also willing to let things slide sometimes…
Would I be right in guessing that you’ve realized parenting is about survival and compromises? That, yes, it’s frozen chicken fingers for dinner again tonight, but tomorrow you’ll make fresh bread and vegetable soup. Or, yes, tonight they’ll watch a movie before bed but yesterday you all spent the evening taking a stroll around your neighborhood.
If this sounds like you and your family then great, that means we’ll get along well… because this is me too. Of course I want what’s best for my family; however, I also want to sit on the couch and binge-watch the latest season of Grey’s Anatomy.
So, how do we do it? How do parents manage their family, their homes, their responsibilities, and themselves without getting overwhelmed and just giving up? Well, some parents do give up. Some don’t manage. Some are those amazingly unbelievable Pinterest-worthy Supermoms.
A lot of the time, those parents that make it, they have a community. They have support, friends to ask for advice, ears to hear their complaints, friends who’ll share a drink. Also, they have a desire to keep learning and trying and growing.
Finding a Community of Like-minded Families
Which brings me to here… to Take Them Outside. I needed a community and a place to learn and grow. And, I wanted to offer that learning and growth to all you moms and dads who are looking to help you and your families too.
There’s so much to parenting. I can’t cover it all. I won’t try! You’ve probably already got your go-to quick meal fixes, you’ve already found a budgeting guru, and a parenting mentor. What I want to do is help you get yourself and your family to feel more connected with nature. I don’t want to turn you into a hard-core adventurer (unless that’s your goal). I just want to help you make a conscious, simple move towards living a more ‘naturally-minded’ family life.
Taking Control of Nature Connections
You probably don’t want your kids sitting in front of screens all day. You know it’s important to get outside, to get fresh air and exercise. I don’t need to tell you that. But, you’re busy, right? When do you find the time? How can you bring nature into the home? Is it possible to get kids interested in plants, animals, and the world around them? How can we do this for our families without dragging them hiking every weekend or camping all summer? Can you as a family actually have any positive impact on your environment, on the future attitudes towards nature conservation? What will you do outside with your kids? Can it be cheap, easy, and quick?
Just Take Them Outside!
These are all questions that Take Them Outside will explore. I’m all about easy nature exploration. Take Them Outside is about getting busy normal families more connected with nature… in the home and out. Things like gardening, camping, setting up a bird feeder, taking a stroll around the neighborhood, nature crafts, and stocking your reading shelf with nature narratives. Time spent in nature – whether it’s 5 minutes or 5 hours is so important to our physical and emotional health. I want to help families feel comfortable and motivated to do it more often. I feel that it is our responsibility to foster a love of the outside world for our children because one day the future of our natural world will be in their hands.
But these aren’t questions that only I am asking… many many other families and organizations are standing behind this push and also asking how to get families connecting more with nature.
The Outdoor Family Community
A quick walk around Facebook or the Blogosphere and you’ll come across many outdoor family pages. Here are a few of my favourites:
- Hike it Baby – An organization aimed at connecting families to hike and get outside together
- Outdoor Family Magazine – A collection of articles and resources for families getting outdoor for adventure
- Tales of a Mountain Mama – This outdoor mama knows her gear and she’ll show you what you need, why, and where to get it!
- Rain or Shine Mamma – where she uses her Swedish culture to demonstrate a love for nature and outdoor adventure with her kids
- Play Outside Guide – This family is always out having adventures and it is a great guide for exploring Southern Alberta and the Rockies
- Backwoods Mama – Another Canadian Outdoor mom who has some really fun and unique outdoor activity ideas!
- Jake’s Nature Blog – From a dad’s perspective, this blog is full of really interesting nature information, inspiration, and outdoor adventure guides
- Your Adventure Coach – While this blog isn’t geared specifically towards outdoor families, it is my go-to resource on how to hike and adventure safely, affordably, and responsibly.
Along this journey of growing an outdoor family, I’ve also discovered that there are numerous ways for us to connect more with nature. There’s no ‘one size fits all’. In an effort to understand how connecting with nature looks different for everyone, I’ve started asking others to share. In this series, you’ll read how other families and individuals both bring more nature into their lives and how they connect with nature more. It is my intention that these stories inspire, teach, and provide you with more ideas on your own outdoor family journeys.
This is what Take Them Outside is about…. making that journey to becoming an outdoor family. It’s about finding time, learning how, and being inspired to connect more with nature. Please, I’d love to have you join along in this adventure. It’ll be fun! I promise!
Where to now? What should you read first?
Here are a few articles you might want to start with:
- Here are the benefits of outdoor active play and why our kids benefit more from outside free play instead of indoor play gyms.
- It can be a real challenge to get kids excited to head outside. Here I share top tips for getting kids (and families) adventuring outside more often.
- When going outside isn’t an option, you can still have your kids playing and learning about nature. Here are some easy indoor nature activity suggestions for younger kids and families.
How can you join in on Take Them Outside’s Adventures?
Well, there’s many ways that you can join along:
- Join the Take Them Outside Community and receive tips, news, activity ideas, and goodies delivered right to your inbox every few weeks.
- Take the 5 Day Nature Challenge to see if you can include just a few more nature minutes into your day!
- Follow our Pinterest Boards and share ideas that interest and excite you
- Like the Take Them Outside Facebook page and stay connected to the growing community there
- Tag Take Them Outside on Twitter and share your own photos and adventures with us. I love to see photos of families getting outside and playing with nature!
I look forward to having you join along on this adventure! Now, turn off your device and take them outside;)