Kids / Family

7 Simple Ways to Raise Adventurous Kids

7 Simple Ways to Raise Adventurous Kids

In a generation where iPods entertain and Fortnite is a staple for “adventure”, it’s easy to fall into a routine where kids are more apt to switch on a device than build a fort or climb a tree. The truth is, my answer to raising adventurous kids is really quite simple – all you have to do is lead by example. My favorite hashtags are #getoutside and #goexplore, both of which drive much of how I raise my kids.  So, here are some of my favorite – and simple – things to do to raise adventurous kids:

  1. Take a hike. You don’t have to live in the mountains to get your boots wet on a trail. Look for forest preserves, open lands, state parks and even park districts to find hikes the entire family can enjoy. Along the way, keep the kids engaged by having them find their own walking stick – and take it home for future hikes.
  2. Camp in your own backyard. While planning a camping trip requires some decent planning, equipment and a little know-how, backyard camping is the perfect place to start. Really, all you need is a tent and a flashlight. Don’t even worry about sleeping bags, just grab some blankets and pillows and wait for a warm, clear night. It’s the perfect intro for the smaller set and easy to do when you can’t get away for an entire weekend.
  3. Build a fort. Whether it’s outside or in your basement, let them use their imaginations to build something where they can plan out, hide out, have secret meetings with their siblings and otherwise enjoy creating something all their own that I like to call “real-world Minecraft”.
  4. Plan a picnic. While this doesn’t sound too adventurous, here’s the catch. The kids do it all – pick the spot, plan the menu, pack the goods and facilitate the entire adventure themselves. Giving kids control of the entire process gives them the confidence and satisfaction that leads them to want to plan more and do more on their own.
  5. Join a scouting organization. Whether it’s Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts, Indian Princess or your own local scouting organization, getting your kids involved in a group that offers programming geared to develop social, leadership, service and technical skills through outdoor adventures can be more than just an afterschool activity, it can give them direction and confidence in a way you might not expect.
  6. Try something new together. If your child isn’t up for joining a sports team or trying out for the typical school activities, try something new as a family. Whether it’s heading to a rock climbing gym on a Saturday morning, renting SUP boards at the lake or taking a cooking class, there are plenty of non-traditional activities that can kick-start their sense of adventure.
  7. Visit a National Park. When planning your next vacation, be sure to see what National Parks are nearby – or even plan your vacation around visiting one! The National Park Junior Ranger Program is the perfect way to introduce your kids to these amazing ecosystems and how they can protect them. They’ll complete activities, participate in a ranger-led program and take the oath to be an official Junior Ranger. The best part – there are different programs in every park, so get the kids involved in planning your next vacation!