Are you interested in exploring the great outdoors with your family, but have some questions? Here are ten posts we've written up to answer the most common questions and experiences we talk about with fellow families as they get started in their outdoor play.
It didn't take long for me to realize that my young daughter and I can have different intentions when we walk through the woods. If it's just me on a walk, I plan to hike or stroll from point A to point B - and point B is usually a fair distance away. My daughter, on the other hand, can get about 10 steps into the forest, become completely engrossed in discovery and she's ready to stop. Here are a few ways we've come to find a balance, and have the whole family get elements of what they want out of an outdoor experience. Read More.
When it's time to go outside adventuring with young children, even as an outdoor playgroup, there are so many gear options to consider bringing with you. In an effort to be minimalists and still have on hand what you need let's show you what's in our bags. Explore our tips for all-weather gear and weather-dependent gear. Read More.
Communities have much to offer in the lives of our children, as well as for us adults. Chances are, if you are part of an outdoor play community, you've already felt the benefits of having like-minded and supportive people around you. You know how special these groups are in your weekly rhythms. If you haven't yet found your outdoorsy people, here are some of our favorite benefits to taking part in a community, once you connect with a true fit for your family. Read More.
Being out in nature is beautiful. It is also filled with potential risks. How we approach those risks, though, determine what children get out of the experience. There's been much talk lately about some of these risks as not just elements to be managed, but actually beneficial parts of life - life skills out there ripe for the taking. They are there if we let kids engage in them, but much of that is up to us as caretakers. The conversation exists because much risky play has diminished over time. The question is, are we ready to guide our children with risky play? Chances are, children are waiting for the opportunity, even if risk is different for each of them. So let's talk risk + why we should give these potentially dangerous activities a go. Read More.
When I say I like to explore the woods with my daughter, I forget the image which immediately comes to mind for some. Both of us lacing up our hiking boots, backpacking our way on the trek of all treks. Weekly. Not all trips into the woods are made the same for us. And while there are times when we set out with a hike in mind, most times we don’t actually enter the woods for this reason. So let's explore what we do there instead. Read More.
When I imagine enjoying the outdoors with my family, there are few things that are often part of this vision. It is warm, but not hot; sunny, with maybe a few clouds here and there; and never raining or snowing. My vision is colorful and temperate and let's be honest, not always realistic. Sure there are those amazing days where the sky is big, the sun is shining and nature feels and looks magical at every turn. Then there are days when that is not to be. It's raining. It's snowing. It's cold. It's windy. It's scorching hot. But we're all-weather kind of folks. Turns out the outdoors is no less magical then, there is just a different kind of magic happening. And it's worth giving a shot. Read More.
It takes some kids a while to warm up to different types of adventure and outdoor play. Let's be honest, it is the same for many of us adults too and it can be for folks of all ages with plenty of new experiences. When we talk about outdoor exploration the conversation seems to focus on other equally important and exciting dynamics, but this part can often be skimmed right over. So, let's shed a little more light on this really important developmental process. Read More.
Hi, Mom. Hi, Dad. I see you over there reading all about the benefits to the outdoors. Kids running free in the woods. Climbing trees. Splashing in puddles. Overturning rocks. You want to love it. You really do. It looks like everyone is having a great time. Even babies seem to be loving it. But there you are, wishing you did too. Instead, your mind wanders. You find yourself thinking about sweat, dirt, mud, ticks, poison ivy, nasty injuries, leeches - well, I don't want to add more to your list - you get the idea. We know being outside in the elements isn't always as natural a fit as some of us would like. Here are some ways we've found can help you even slightly overcome the things you don't like in the outdoors. Read More.
Like with most animals and insects in the woods, it's important to consider the "what-ifs" of a wildlife encounter. There are reasons to be cautious, reasons to take certain precautions and reasons to arm yourself with knowledge if an encounter happens. But there are also reasons to rest easy and relax a bit. Knowledge and a little tweaking to your heading-in-and-out-the-door rhythm can go a long way toward protecting your kids from ticks and other insects. So let's talk ticks and get ourselves ready to coexist with them as we do our thing and they do theirs (just hopefully not on us!). Read More.
When anyone spends time in the great outdoors - exploring, creating and enjoying - there is an impact on the natural world. For when we put ourselves in a delicate ecosystem, we become part of that ecosystem. Some of the ways we do this is tremendous. We may (ahem) plant seeds of understanding and appreciation through exposure and interaction, which foster a lifelong respect for nature. It doesn't get much better than that. But some of how we interact can also be harmful, even in unintended ways. Imagine the last time you went into the woods with kids. Stepping off the path. Taking things home from the forest. Picking up and breaking things open which turn out to be homes for insects or a nutrient-rich decay in process. These explorations affect the ecosystem. As parents, we want to foster curiosity and a love of the outdoors, but not at the expense of the forest's natural cycle. So, how can we do both? Read More.
Have other questions or experiences as you begin to explore nature as a family? Let us know in the comments below.