Tonje Lilleås

Family adventures with toddlers

When my wife and I talked about making a family of our own, we talked a lot about what family adventures we wanted to share with our kids. We’ve always loved the outdoors and hiking has been one of the things we’ve spent most time doing together. We wanted to keep wandering and spending time in nature with our kids, but have we succeeded? And what are we up to this year?

A small setback

After finding out we were pregnant with our first son, we moved to a city closer to my in laws. We spent the first few weeks exploring the possibilities of leading an outdoorsy lifestyle with kids in the area. And we spoke a lot about what life here would be like for our family. But the road ahead was going to be a bit more bumpy than anticipated.

About a month after moving I got injured riding my bike on one of the trails close to our house. At first I thought I would be fine after a few weeks of recovery, but long story short I wasn’t. Our son greeted us six months later and at that point we were very unsure if we would ever be able to get to experience the family adventures we had dreamed of. We decided to handle the injury as a small setback, and do whatever we could to keep our outdoorsy lifestyle.

Starting small – baby steps to the summit

As it turned out it wasn’t too big of a problem that I no longer was able to hike the longest, hardest or steepest hikes anymore. You don’t do that with babies anyway. Having a baby gave us an excuse to slow down the pace, reign in our goals and just get outside.

We started of with short walks along local trails where we could bring the stroller. Every day we had one or two walks along the trails. Baby boy grew bigger and I grew stronger. After a few months our walks grew longer. We switched the stroller for a baby carrier, which made it possible to go for short hikes. When our son was seven months we reached our first “summit”. It was a small one, but it made us start dreaming of those family adventures again.


The family adventures we dreamed of was always the kinds that helped us lead an outdoorsy lifestyle every day. So we established some rhythms for our family to help us get outside and stay there.

We hiked every day after work, made our dinner in nature at least once a week and took our son for bike rides and went skiing whenever we could. Spending vacations and weekends at our family cabins and taking part in outdoorsy family events also helped us focusing and prioritizing according to what we valued.

We documented a lot of our adventures and sat down with our son to look through the pictures and talked about what we had experienced. At first he just thought it was fun to see himself, but after a while he old stories of what he remembered from our family adventures. It was fun to notice that he often remembered other details than we did from the same hike. For instance we could talk about the amazing weather we had had on a hike, while he was eager to tell us about all the ants he had seen.

Turning two our son loved our daily hikes. He easily hiked 2 km if it wasn’t too steep and enjoyed his meals way more if they were eaten outside. We never told him to be careful, always told him to concentrate and let him try stuff. He now prefers biking trails to pavement and love it when we take him climbing. We have truly succeeded in passing on the love for the outdoors, the force is strong with him.

Family adventures of 2019

On December 6th 2018 our son became a big brother. His baby brothers arrival has made us think about how we managed to have our family adventures with a baby and a toddler.

Having a new baby kind of makes us start all over again. So we will have to adjust our family adventures of 2019 accordingly. Therefore we have planned a lot of short and easy hikes. Introducing elements of teaching our older son about nature for the hikes to still be fun for him. A magnifying glass, a kite, a fishing rod and a book on birds will, along with other items, be added to our kit to have activities for the oldest on hikes that are suitable for the baby.

We will keep having dinner outside at least once a week, but we will keep it very local to not set the bar too high. And the gourmet dinners will have to wait for next year.

Over the winter we have had three weekends skiing with our oldest, and we’ll make sure to get a few more in before winter turns to spring. Baby boy loves sleeping in the stroller between feedings and diaper changes, making it possible for his mums to take turns skiing with our oldest.

We’re going back to Sunnmøre for easter, so that will be an adventure. Hoping for possibilities of skiing in the mountains and biking by the fjords.

Summer holidays will be spent exploring local areas where we live. We have plans of camping, hiking, swimming and biking a lot. Making sure we prioritize what’s important to us; quality time with family in nature.

Hope you liked this post! If you want to know more about how we keep an outdoorsy lifestyle with kids, there will be a post with tips and tricks very soon. Please make sure to subscribe to my newsletter so you don’t miss out! Also consider following me on Instagram and Twitter, it will be much appreciated. I wish you the very best of days!



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