I began planning weekly outdoor adventures in nature with my kids several summers ago as a way to ground us as a family. I had found that as my kids started getting older, they would spend more time with their friends, arranging their own activities, wanting to hang out with their peers, doing their own thing, which is normal and healthy. And, of course, they’d want to spend more time on their technology, screen time, X-Box, and so on.
And, I felt I was losing them.
So, I pondered, what could I do to help focus us as a family, what could we do together, outdoors, in nature and in the woods, away from technology and screens? And, I thought of this “Weekly Outdoor Adventure with Kids” idea, where we’d find a new place to go together, outside, in the woods, in nature, each week; we’d visit a new park, find a new outdoor setting, where we would experience some place new together, away from our home, something outdoors. Kids need to be outside. Kids need unstructured time away from technology. Kids need nature. Heck, I need it.
I found myself looking forward to these weekly outdoor adventures. It felt deliberate and intentional and important.
I was learning about new parks and new outdoor areas, sometimes just minutes from our home. And, some were just a half hour away or maybe 45 minutes away, and yet, when we are at these parks, at these nature areas, it feels like we are a world away from the high-paced rushed, electronic world.
Yet, I’m not going to lie. Sometimes my kids complain about “having” to go on these family adventures with mom. That’s okay. We go anyway. I try to make the day fun. Bringing food always helps. Easy snacks, boxed juices. And, letting them take along a friend always makes a difference; and I’d invite other moms along as well.
And, of course, as a writer, I decided to blog about our weekly adventures as a way to record some of our experiences and the fun conversations of my kids. Yep, that’s what happens naturally as we go on these outdoor adventures. Kids talk and share and pick up sticks and run ahead of one another. It is a whole new world. Outdoor world.
Blogging about these weekly outdoor adventures was also a way for me to share the experience with other moms; moms would ask me about places to go and blogging about it helped encourage them to get their kids outdoors, and to help them find some of the places I discovered.
Below is a list of just a few of some local, Portland, Oregon and beyond possibilities for getting kids outdoors. I have individual blog posts linked as well. This is not an exhaustive list, by any means, but I wanted to add this as I promised Andee Zomerman, who interviewed me today about getting kids outdoors for her radio program, Rose City Forum . During the first half of her show, she interviewed Dr. Scott Sampson about his new book, Raising a Wild Child. He is singing my song for sure. Andee linked from the show’s website to here.
Go adventure with kids! (ideas:)
4 T Outing (Trail, Tram, Trolley, and Train)