Ready to introduce your family to more outdoor activities? Fantastic! If you are ready to travel the US in an RV welcome to the lifestyle and maybe we’ll see you on the road! However for most families it will be smaller steps forward. Below are a few ideas for each age group to get you started:
* Search your backyard with a magnifying glass
* Go for a walk and print out a simple nature scavenger hunt. Search online for one that is relevant to your state and season.
* Create a treasure box together where they can keep their natural treasures they’ve found in nature. Little rocks, dried leaves or flowers, feathers, etc. Pro tip: keep on the porch or in a garage and check it often to make sure the treasures aren’t moving. Plain wood boxes, paint and brushes are available at your local craft store and provide a great rainy-day activity.
For Older Kids
* Take a walk at your local park and let your kids lead using a map you printed out beforehand. Let them lead the way!
* Get outside your regular routine by visiting surrounding towns parks instead of your own. One summer my kids and I had a goal of visiting 50 different playground! We didn’t make it quite all the way to 50 but we had a great time explored tons of new spots we wouldn’t have found otherwise.
* Find a short hike somewhere new then take one thing that catches your child’s eye (an animal, plant, waterfall, rocks, etc) and do one activity around that. Keep it easy! We will even just find a program on it and watch together during our after-activity snack. We love programs by PBS, Nova, National Geographic, and Disney.
* Find a local hike with a fun payoff – a viewpoint, waterfall, swimming hole, etc. Bring a friend to make it even better.
* Find somewhere creepy! A forest with a legendary backstory or an afternoon urban exploring can be done safely and is so fun for teens.
* Break out of usual activities and try something new! Find a company to kick up the interest in the outdoors with river tubing, mountain biking, climbing, zip lining… there are so many options!
When our kids were young, we utilized museums and local events (craft fairs, town events) to help show our children a world outside their immediate day to day lives. Taking the time to go through these places at their pace, read things and interact with people gave the kids experience at learning from the environment around them. Great local resources for this can be a local library, visitors center, chamber of commerce. Each one of these can provide a wealth of information on what is going on in the area.
We also started camping with the kids early (they were still in diapers). The first trips were short and local, easy for us to plan and be successful in pulling off. As time went by, and we all became more comfortable, the trips became further away from home and longer in duration. Destinations were chosen to always go somewhere new or do something different. We use several resources for this, including Campendium to find campgrounds, AllTrails for hikes and AtlasObscura for interesting points that are nearby.
It made sense for our family to combine these two things and push us all further outside our comfort zones. Now we travel the US and experience new things all the time. Finding the different has driven us to have many unique experiences, but we did not start out living this live, we built up to it. It took time to get to where we are now. Where we ended up may not be the case for everyone reading this but the most important thing is to make the decision and start with something!
h e l l o @ jessicamchale.com
Somewhere new every two weeks-ish, more or less. Boston is home-base.
View Jess's portfolio of wedding and portrait clients. Based in Boston, MA