As a homeschooling mom who’s passionate about outdoor living, I’m not surprised by the latest studies listing the numerous benefits of getting kids to spend time outdoors.
These include physical, emotional, and mental benefits. And while our day has room for unstructured play, to get the most out of our “outdoor time” I’m always looking for ways to add in an educational component.
Recently my nine-year-old and almost-six-year old have been on a journaling kick (maybe you remember the Composting Journal and the Gardening Journal I created earlier this year.) They love recording their activities after completing a hands-on project or activity.
That’s why I created this Hiking Journal. It’s their own keepsake of the hikes we take together as a family.
You can grab your own free copy with the link at the bottom of this post.
When Your Kids Don’t Like the Outdoors
Yes, this is a thing – some kids don’t like the outdoors. If you’re finding it difficult to persuade your children to spend time outdoors, here are a few tips.
Some kids get bored outdoors on their own. Yet a trip to the playground, a nearby beach, or even just hanging out in the backyard can be much more fun with friends. Encourage outdoor playdates with your kids’ friends. Stock up on inexpensive outdoor fun with sidewalk chalk, bubbles, or plan an outdoor craft.
Pack a Picnic
If you have a “food-motivated” child, start planning weekly picnic lunches. Head to a park and plan a family physical activity like a hike, a game of tag, or even a swim before lunch. Don’t forget to pack lots of water and an ice pack to keep things cool.
Enroll in an Organized Outdoor Club
If you live in the city or suburbs and find it hard to get outdoors as a family, consider enrolling your child in an outdoor club to learn camping, hiking, and outdoor living skills.
Some children avoid spending time outdoors because they’re afraid and unprepared. Once they know how to handle themselves in a natural environment their confidence increases and they’ll enjoy their outdoor time even more.
Schedule Homeschool Lessons Outside
Do you ever homeschool outside? We do. Living in Canada’s subarctic, we have an extremely long and cold winter. Once warmer weather arrives we spend as much time outdoors as we can – even if our bookwork isn’t done. We just take it outside with us or try an outdoor-oriented lesson.
Encourage your “indoor kids” outside with activities like:
- outdoor math games
- foraging activities
- outdoor art experiences
- gathering materials for wildcrafting or nature crafts like this DIY Birdfeeders Nature Craft
- nature studies
- outdoor science experiments
Take a Family Hike With a Mission
My favorite way to encourage kids to get outside is to organize a family hike – one with a purpose. Choose to explore a new trail or park. Try a nature scavenger hunt, or work on a navigation lesson. Use a subscription box service like Think Outside Boxes (get $10.00 off with the FIRSTBOX coupon code).
As a family, use your hike to work through a new outdoor skill each month. You’ll get fresh air, exercise, and new memories for your whole family to cherish.
Sarita Harbour is a busy mom/step-mom, and grandmother blessed with seven kids ranging from age 32 down to seven. She lives off the grid with her family in a lakefront chalet in the beautiful wilderness of Canada’s far north. She spends her days teaching, writing, and learning the ropes of homesteading off the grid. Visit her site, Off Grid Life, for free printables and resources on homesteading, homeschooling, and self-reliance for the whole family.