You love the outdoors. You love hiking, camping, swimming, kayaking and just about any activity you can do out in nature. And now that you have kids, you want to pass on your passion for nature. The great outdoors has so much to offer and teach your children, just like it taught you when you were their age.
Just like the Boy Scout motto, you need to be prepared when heading into the outdoors. You never know when the weather might change or when you’ll have to take a different path, so you need to teach your kids to be prepared for the worst. For example, if you lose the path while hiking and don’t have any phone service, you should have a map of the area and be able to follow nature’s clues (such as what direction the sun rises and sets) to help you find your way back to the path.
When you’re packing for a hiking or camping trip, you also should teach your kids how to pack for a variety of scenarios, emergency situations and weather conditions. Look for sales on outdoor equipment and supplies from a specialty store like Cabela’s to go over the list of everything you might need with your kids before your next trip.
Even with all of your preparation, sometimes things happen that you didn’t expect. For example, it rained unexpectedly and the wood you were going to use to start a fire and cook dinner is wet. While this may seem like an insurmountable problem to your kids, take this opportunity to come up with other solutions. See if you can find other items in your packs or dry brush around your campsite to get a fire going. Or, figure out what kind of meal you can create without a fire by finding berries or mushrooms nearby or making a different meal with the food you brought.
Everything you do in the great outdoors requires cooperation and teamwork. When you’re setting up your campsite, everyone should have a job, from pitching the tent to collecting firewood. When you’re kayaking or canoeing, you need each person to do their share of the paddling to go in the right direction. When you’re hiking, you may need someone to give you a hand to get over a big step. Being in the outdoors away from other distractions helps your family form a close bond and learn how to work together.
While being in the great outdoors is fun, relaxing and peaceful at times, it also is hard work. You have to work to plan your trip, set up camp, climb the mountain and get around the next bend. But what the outdoors teaches you about hard work is that it’s worth it in the end. When you get to the peak of the mountain or to the middle of the lake, you can look out and see what you’ve accomplished. Teach your kids to push themselves to do their best and they will reap the rewards.
You love the outdoors for a reason: it teaches you how to appreciate the small things in life. When you’re outside with your kids, show them how much you appreciate the beautiful sunset or the smell of the trees and flowers. Teach them that life isn’t just about possessions and accomplishments but about enjoying the small moments.