*Guest Post* Get Your Kids Outside!

Please welcome James Garner, from Outdoor Gear TV.  He is a wealth of information when it comes to gear and families!  As always, please feel free to leave him comments and be sure to check out his great video reviews!

At a young age I was exposed to a healthy dose of spending time outdoors.   We grew up in the country and spent most of our waking hours outside.  I just did not know any better.  There were several things that geared my upbringing to this.  First we basically had access to acres of woods and terrain. Second, we had no TV or video games.  And finally, my brother and I probably drove my mom crazy and she made us stay outside until it was time to come in and eat dinner and go to bed.  As I grew up my parents would purposely plan a yearly vacation to Colorado.  We would spend 2 weeks together as a family in the mountains.  It was at a young age that I realized that I held the outdoors and especially the mountains dear to my heart.  I later went on to Guide for many years in Colorado. 
Here we are 10 years later.  Enter a wife and 3 kids.  My children’s ages are 7,4 and 5 months old.  Life changes fast and we better change with it or get run over!  So how do I make it a priority to get my children outside?  Everywhere I look kids are punching away at I pads and I Phones around every corner.  Here are 3 ways that I try to fight conformity and get my children outside. 
1.) Turn of the TV– I tell my kids that TV rots your brain and creativity.  We do our best to limit the screen time for our children.  I think I have almost convinced my wife to cancel our cable and put that extra $ towards 2x a week gymnastics class for my girls.  Replace that time with something positive and encouraging.   
2.) Purposefully schedule outdoor activities – Put this stuff on your calendar and say NO to everything else that tries to get in the way.  Life bombards us with scheduling request and we need to sit down and prioritize time outdoors with our family.  SAY NO!!!!  Schedule time outdoors.  It could be as little as a picnic in the park or a 3-day weekend hike.  Just purposely plan for it like anything else.
3.) Surround yourself with “Like Minded” Families.  – You know the old saying “Don’t be un-equally yoked”.  Make a conscience effort to surround yourself with families that share the same passion for the outdoors.  If the company that you regularly interact with lets their kids sit in front of a TV 3 hours a day and throws Twinkies at them for snacks, don’t expect your kids to want to deviate from that.   Make a conscience effort to weed out the bad and replace with good.  This applies to all aspects in your life, but is real important that your community reflect your values as a family. 
Practice what you preach to your children.  Actions speak louder than words and will have a lasting effect on your children.  I think God designed us to be outside. At least, when I am able to enjoy the outdoors I am a better man, husband and father.  Your children will benefit long term from time spent outdoors also. 
What do you do to get your kids outside?  


James loves the mountains and spends as much time in them as he can.  He is also an avid snowboarder, cyclist and kayaker and the husband and father of a beautiful family!  He is the founder of Outdoor Gear TV which began as a place to provide unbiased video product reviews of great gear (definitely check it out!)  You can find him on Twitter and Facebook.

6 thoughts on “*Guest Post* Get Your Kids Outside!”

  1. Great article. The one thing I do to get my son outside is make it part of the routine. We get outside everyday… hopefully as he grows up it’ll just be part of who he is. (We also don’t even have a TV which helps)

  2. Good for you! I’ve been taking my kids out climbing, hiking and geocaching since they were very little. Despite growing up in an “extreme” suburban mall culture in NJ, they grew up to hate fashion and love the outdoors. I created a mailing list for other Gunks climbers with kids and it became very popular, now with around 80 families in the group. Having other families to climb with and other kids to play with, whether or not the kids actually climb, was a great way to get crag time by sharing the belaying and child-watching duties, and a great way to make new friends. When the opportunity presented itself, we bolted from the NJ suburbs to live next to the Gunks, and my kids were thrilled to get out of the materialistic mall culture of the suburbs and have the Gunks as their backyard.

    1. Making a physical move to be closer to outdoors and away from the “suburban” culture is awesome! Looks like we may be doing the same thing here soon..You are shaping the future for your children…I love it…and congrats on that. As John Muir said “The Mountains are calling and I must go” 🙂

  3. Great post! I love the point you make about surrounding yourself with like-minded families. It is something we do without realizing it, but it does make a huge difference in our children’s attitudes.

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