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Being outdoors is not only beneficial for people’s mental, physical and emotional health but is also a great way for families to spend quality time together, bond and establish healthy habits. Unfortunately, in a day and age where family activities usually take place indoors and often involve digital devices, it might seem like exploring the great outdoors and enjoying nature’s wonders are customs from a long-forgotten era. 

It’s certainly easier to plan a movie night or a board game night than to prepare for a road trip, go camping or head out for a day hike, especially when children are involved. It might also be difficult for busy parents to make time for these types of activities or to tear kids and teens away from their screens. But by taking the easier route, many families miss out on all the amazing experiences and the numerous benefits that the natural world has to offer. 

So, if you want to make the most of family time and help your kids develop an appreciation for the outdoors, here are some tips on creating safe and memorable adventures. 

Plan together 

When it comes to spending time outdoors with the family, the opportunities are endless. From simple things like having a picnic in a park or gardening to more complex endeavours like hiking and camping, there are countless activities that you can engage in. 

However, it might be a little complicated to put your plan into practice or even come up with a plan at all since different members of the family have different needs and preferences. The more numerous the family, the more difficult it is to find a common denominator. That’s why you need to consult and get all family members involved in the planning process, so you can take everyone’s interests and wants into account and decide on activities together.

You have to ensure that the activities you choose are appropriate for your kids’ ages and fitness levels and also appeal to them. If you want to introduce your kids to new activities, explain what they involve in a language that they understand and don’t force them into doing something they’re not comfortable with. 

Do a thorough research 

No matter where you choose to go and what you plan to do, it’s important to learn as much as possible about the locations you’re going to visit and what they offer. In general, you can find all the information you need on the internet, so you can research the destination, facilities and activities you intend to engage in from the comfort of your own home. 

If you want to go to a nature park, for example, you should look up accommodation availability in the area, their visiting schedule, entrance requirements, guidelines, the amenities they have on the grounds as well as the attractions and recommendations for family-friendly activities. 

If you have the chance, you can go down and visit the destination in person to make sure you’ve got everything covered. You have to prepare yourself thoroughly and be aware of the risks if you want to avoid any mishaps. If you’re not cautious, your outdoor adventure can quickly turn into a trip to the emergency room followed by a quest to decipher the intricacies of a personal injury claim

Check weather conditions 

Once you have all the details about the destination and activities figured out, you have to check and see if the weather is going to be on your side and allow you to carry out your fun-filled adventure unbothered. Weather conditions can force you to change your plans or even cancel them if things get more extreme. Also, the longer you plan to stay in a place, the more difficult it is to predict and prepare. If you’re planning a one-day hike, it’s easy to pick a day with good weather, but if you intend to go camping for several days, it can get a little more complicated. 

So, you have to check the weather report for the period you have in mind and monitor conditions throughout your stay. Don’t disregard severe weather warnings and postpone your plans if the forecast is not favourable. Sometimes, staying at home is the smartest and safest thing you can do as there will always be another chance for you to explore the outdoors in better weather.  

Wear appropriate clothing and gear

Nature is truly magnificent but it can test you in many ways. As wonderful as venturing into the great outdoors can be, there are also risks and hazards to take into consideration. Kids can get tired, you might get sunburned and get dehydrated or, in the worst-case scenario, one of you could get injured. That’s why you should never head out without wearing appropriate attire and bringing the right equipment with you. 

Depending on the activities you plan to do, you need to make a list with all the items you need to take with you. This generally includes things like maps, a change of clothes, toiletries, sun protection (be it winter or summer, the sun is unforgiving), chargers, plenty of water, snacks, and obviously, activity-specific gear. Last but not least, you should always carry a first-aid kit with you so you can treat minor injuries or health issues on the go. 

Set clear rules from the get-go 

Outings with the family don’t always go as expected. No matter how well you prepare, there are many things that can go wrong and disrupt your plans. You need to let your children know about the potential risks that outdoor activities entail and teach them how to respond in these situations. This involves establishing some ground rules that everyone in the family needs to follow to avoid hazards and make sure your nature adventure goes as smoothly as possible. 

Experiencing the great outdoors with your loved ones is a wonderful way to foster closeness and make wonderful memories together, and there are tons of activities that you can try. But you need to take things slowly and prepare your getaway properly if you want to make the most of it. 

 

 

Image: Parent Stock photos by Vecteezy