Simplify Your Outdoor Time

Simplify Your Outdoor Time

Simplify Your Outdoor Time

Most weekends as a family we plan a little day-trip – we head to a familiar park, explore a new one, play on the beach or work our way down a trail. Before we reach THAT MOMENT that screams, “get me out of the house,” my husband and I make the eye-contact, “where to this time?” Sure, it’s fun to switch up the scenery and check-out somewhere new, but really the WHERE doesn’t usually matter. The “end” of getting out as a family includes quality time together, learning something new, getting exercise, shaking the sillies out, and soaking up the tranquility of the outdoors. The means of achieving these goals does not have to be complicated. In fact, our simplest adventures – a walk to a boardwalk nearby or a trip to our favorite park – are often our most memorable.

Simplify Your Outdoor Time

While there are endless ideas for getting outside with our children (I’m guilty of providing some of those! :)), sometimes the best suggestion is SIMPLICITY – just go. Go! – and see where the children “take” you. Let their imaginations develop. Offering ideas is wonderful and can prompt their little minds in new directions; intervening in their play and adventures too often, however, teaches them to rely on others. Discern when to share an idea and when to send them on their way. Boredom can be a catalyst for creativity – try not to give-in to the demand for attention or entertainment. Find the balance of being present while encouraging their independence.

Simplify Your Outdoor Time

Simplifying my own expectations helps me to let go of my own ideas and to leave room for the kids’ own discoveries! Allowing for child-led expeditions is part of the process of encouraging our little ones to become the little explorers we hope them to be. When the child takes ownership of the adventure, it truly become his. Instead of Mom or Dad writing the script for him – he feels that proud moment, “I did it.” That is the moment when it clicks, and he begins his journey.

Simplify Your Outdoor Time

Do you agree with the thinking, simplify? How do you make the most of your outings with little ones?!


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6 thoughts on “Simplify Your Outdoor Time”

  1. I agree 100 percent. Most of the time, we just head out the door and I often let the kids take the lead in the exploring (which often takes place in our backyard). Sometimes when they (especially my 3-year-old) need more motivation I need to come up with some activities, but really, it doesn’t have to be complicated to get outside and I think it is good for kids to be a bit bored every once in a while. I think it spurs creativity. Great post!

  2. Great post Ann. Even though mine are older we still have different ideas about what makes outside time fun so we have to strike a balance in meeting everyone’s needs. They sometimes have to be patient (or, dare I say, bored) while I set up a shot and I sometimes have to put the camera down and splash in a creek with them.

    I love your message about fostering independence. 🙂


  3. Agree! I just read the piece on Huff Post that has been going around, about not needing to make our kids childhood’s magical – that happens without our intervention. I think the same holds true for getting outdoors – it is its own reward! My boys love just going for a walk in the woods and exploring. They would much rather direct our walk than follow some activity or agenda that I might plan out, and I think that nature works its magic that way.

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