We have two little beans who love an adventure. One is only quite mini, but even he, at 18 months, is a picture of delight when he is confronted by an outdoor adventure. Squeals and gasps of “wow” (a new favourite word) included.
I guess we have just always taken them outdoors and let them run. It has always seemed like the natural thing to do, and they in turn love it. I think they need wide open spaces. They like to let their legs run free. And that is just brilliant in my book. Good exercise keeps them fit and wears them out (hoorah for bed time) and they are happy little children. Well for the most part, unless the snacks run out obviously…
All this adventuring has definitely become more effective over time though, and there are certainly some lessons we have learned along the way. So here they are. Lessons in adventuring with kids. May they make you smile and guide you on your own adventures, big or small.
My Top Adventuring Tips:
Adventurers need fuel
I jested about the snacks earlier, but honestly I have found that fuel consumption is high when we are off on adventures, so I never go anywhere without significant supplies of snacks and water. My husband complains every time we get in the car with our 300 bags of supplies. But even he gets it… nothing worse than being out somewhere and the little ones being hungry. It wrecks their mood and normally the outing. We are trying to be really proactive about less plastic and so are always armed with our reusable bottles to keep our drinks cool, and some funky eco-friendly boxes full of snacks. And lets be honest; some of those snacks are full of sugar, because sometimes that is just the way it needs to be. They eat well but every adventurer needs treats and energy. Sometimes, it is the only way to accomplish a very long walk.
Freedom to run
I have found with our boys that they love it when they get to have control of the adventure… we might decide where we go or how we get there, but once we are there it is amazing how much more they get out if it if they have some control. Our youngest is a bit too little for this. Frankly being out of the pushchair is an adventure so he is easily pleased. But for our 7 year old Henry, this is really important. He gets to make decisions, explore new things, lead us on a little magical mystery tour. And the smile is broad let me tell you.
They like a little bit of danger
I am not suggesting majorly dangerous, can’t look, type danger. What I mean, is that, over time, I have learned that you do need to let them explore and take risks. Clearly there are times to step in. An approaching bear, for example, or alarming cliff edge. But them stepping out of their comfort zone, trying new things, seeing how high they can climb, is all good for them. In our ever increasingly digital age I have definitely learned that taking some risks and finding out a bit about themselves does wonders for their confidence and happiness.
They actually love the rain
I don’t know at what age we start hating the rain. I am always saying I hate the rain, and when I think about it I don’t know why that is. Yes it probably does make things a bit more difficult. But actually I have learned that they flipping love the stuff. It is much more fun to be playing in the woods, or making dens, or pretending to be pirates in the rain. It is novel I guess, because they are so used to being inside when it rains. So honestly, have an adventure in the rain. They will think you are a Super Hero Parent. Win.
Adventures do not have to be a million miles away.
When we had H I think I felt that everything had to be beyond awesome. That we had to prove ourselves as parents almost. But I have learned that this simply is not the case. What they want with us is time. Soooo as much as we absolutely love adventures and getting outside I have discovered that this does not have to mean major trips, long distances or aeroplanes. Do to get me wrong, we love travel and holidays. But adventures 5 minutes from your door are just as important and special to them as adventures 5 hours or 5 days from your door. The distance doesn’t matter to them. It is the time with you, with each other, and with nature that matters. So remember that any adventure is worthy. Doesn’t have to be big. Some of our favourite adventures are walking and collecting on the beach, den building in the woods, flower spotting in the local national trust garden, running races in a field, and hide and seek just about anywhere that allows it.
So here’s to happy adventuring!