If you’re like me, you simply love the outdoors. Whether it’s a sunny day at the beach, a crisp autumn day in the words, or a chilly winter day on the slopes, the truth is that you have probably spent some of your favorite days in the great outdoors.
For that reason, chances are good that you want to encourage your kids to foster that same love for being outdoors, not only so that you can spend those days with them for many years ahead but also so that they can learn all of the meaningful and important lessons that people can learn by spending time outside.
One person who knows that well is Phil Fischer, who knows a thing or two about spending time outside with his own kids! For that reason, he’s the perfect person to explain how to teach your kids to love the outdoors.
Start them young
One of the best ways to get them to love the great outdoors is to simply start them young! Whether it’s bringing them out in a little baby bag, holding their hands when you go to a desolate beach, or teaching them how to ski when they’re young. One of the best ways is to spend time with them, because the truth is your kids are going to love basically anything when they’re spending time with you!
Explore the nearby places
You can spend time in your backyard digging in the dirt or go to a local park and teach them how to skip rocks. Often, enjoying time outside is about enjoying simple things so there is no reason why you should start by teaching your children about those very simple things.
Ask them what they want to do
While you may want them to immediately love the same kind of outdoor activities that you love, that could take time. What is important first and foremost is that you encourage them to simply love being outside and exploring new places. In time, they will grow older and will probably be more interested in figuring out what you love about being outdoors. Finding a way to make them love being outside, and making it look like they did it on their own, without your influence is what your first goal should look like. Eventually, they’ll surely come to you interested in the activities that you love so much.
Bring the outdoors inside
If your child seems a bit hesitant to spend time outside, think about bringing the outside indoors with you. You can erect something like a fishbowl or a terrarium into your home and get your kids interested that way. You could also put on a nature documentary like Planet Earth and get them excited about the outdoors and nature, so they’ll eventually ask you to explore the outdoors themselves rather than watching it on a boring screen.
Pitch a tent in the backyard
To get your child or children excited about spending time outside, pitch a tent in your backyard and do a camping night or two. Eventually, they’ll be far more excited about camping out in the world in new and exciting places.
From there, all you have to do is find a kid-friendly and easily accessible camping ground that can prove to your children just how special the great outdoors can be. Whether that means going to a camping ground that you are already familiar with or somewhere that is new to everyone in your family is up to you. What truly matters most is that everyone is safe and comfortable with the decision so that you can make sure that no one in your family is overwhelmed by the changes of sleeping outdoors, cooking by a campfire and maybe missing a shower or two before you head home.
Do something really exciting
Whether you are a passionate mountain climber, skier, snorkeler, surfer or anything in between, there is no wrong time to try to get your children involved in one of your many outdoor passions. You can either take them out to the slop or a nearby climbing wall and teach them yourself, or you can enroll them in an after-school or weekend program so that they can learn a brand new skill while also hanging out with children their own age.
While it might feel like you are pulling tooth and nail to get them to be outside at first, soon enough they will be clamoring for the next time that they can get back to the outdoor activity of their choice with the friends that they have made while learning it.
Get a dog
While getting a dog is not the easiest life decision when it comes to committing your time, energy and money, it sure is the most spontaneous and the fastest way to get your kids excited about spending time outdoors. Giving them a fun task to do on a daily basis such as walking your dog, is both healthy and enjoyable for the majority of kids. Having a responsibility to take care of a living creature is also teaching them how to be compassionate, kind and disciplined. But the most important aspect of the process is engaging them in an activity that is fun, exciting and full of exploring possibilities. Your kid will play and run with your dog, explore flowers, plants and other animals and mimic everything your dog does and that is – enjoying nature and freedom of being outside. While learning to take care of their own furry friend, they will unconsciously fall in love with the outdoors. And that’s exactly what you want to induce.
In the end, there is no right or wrong way to get your kids to learn to love the outdoors. Simply spending time with them and showing them the wonder of nature will most likely be all it takes for them to forge their own life-long relationship with the outdoors and the natural parts of the world.