Earlier this year I found myself reflecting on something I learned as a teen participating in a 28-day Outward Bound course: "Always leave a campsite in better condition than you find it." It wasn't just talk. We literally stopped and picked up trash, packing it out along with our already heavy gear. That lesson I learned from real experience has served me well throughout my life.
For most of us, going outside is leaving the comfort zone. Yet the experience is rich with learning opportunities and "Active Parenting" moments.
It doesn't have to be a camping trip! It can be a gentle nature walk or a picnic in the park. Our kids loved to go "rock hopping" in streams and creeks when they were young, and their mom and I loved it, too. You can go far or stay close to home. Spend a lot - or not.
Of course, it won't all be smooth sailing, but an important part of Active Parenting is showing your children how to handle challenges, learn from mistakes, express disagreements, and apologize when necessary.
Here are some ideas for easy outdoor fun:
- Visit any of our national parks, state parks, or a city park
- Local nature trails or gardens or wildlife centers
- Books offering ideas low-cost/no-cost activities at home
- Stargazing with free apps to help identify different constellations together.
- Rafting or tubing down a river
- Planting a family garden (your county extension service will have ideas)
- Biking (mountains and trails are especially good)
- And, if you have the patience, I hear that fishing is fun.
Whatever you do, get outside and do it!