Tonje Lilleås

How to keep an outdoorsy lifestyle with kids – Baby steps into the wild

I follow several hashtags and profiles in social media that focuses on an outdoorsy lifestyle with kids. Selling the dream of traveling and adventuring with your family full time seems to be trending. In a way it’s natural. A lot of content creators that started out as free young adults are now becoming parents, and are therefore sharing how they keep their outdoorsy lifestyle as a family.

However not all of us can quit our jobs, sell our homes and spend our days exploring the world from a custom built van. And when the hustle and bustle of life with kids takes over, it can be difficult to keep our lives filled with outdoorsy adventures. In this post however, I give you 6 tips that will help you on the way to keeping an outdoorsy lifestyle with kids.

Kids are natural born explorers – #runwildmychild

The first time we took our oldest son to the cabin, I really understood that kids are natural born explorers. They want to see, touch, smell and taste it all. If it’s an ant carrying a leaf or droppings from a moose, they want to explore it. A short hike to the river close by is a huge adventure when you get to find your own trail through the woods. And my oldest tells stories of how nature came to be this way by filling in the gaps of his knowledge with his amazing imagination.

Letting our children explore means letting them do what they are meant to do. They are meant to find their way and develop through their curiosity of the world. We have to guide them and make sure they are safe, but I think it’s so important to let them run wild and raise them with a deep connection with nature.

The valuable Family Fun Time

We’ve had so many fun adventures together as a family, and we’ve never travelled far to find them. Our oldest hasn’t been outside Scandinavia yet, our youngest has not crossed the Norwegian borders. This is not due to any lack of appreciation of all the magnificent places and people out there. It’s just that we find that the key ingredient in good family adventures are the family. We can have great adventures anywhere, as long as we are together. And making sure to set aside time for Family Fun Time is really valuable for us as a family.

We connect and reconnect with each other in a much more profound way when we share experiences and adventures together. When we make sure to be present in the moment, wherever we spend that moment, we grow closer. And I think that’s why our outdoorsy lifestyle with the kids is so important. It provides us with a lot of magical moments that together makes the story of us, the story of our family.

Above all the love of nature

We want our kids to inherit our love for nature. To be able to pass that on to them is our main goal in leading an outdoorsy lifestyle with our kids. We want to teach them that spending time in nature will help them stay balanced, keep them healthy both physically and mentally and will give them their most magical moments in life. To be able to do that, we have to spark their interest for the outdoorsy lifestyle through what excites them. Getting them excited about our adventures is the key to be able to lead an outdoorsy lifestyle with kids.


6 tips on how to keep an outdoorsy lifestyle with kids

1. Lower the bar

First of all; when you become parents your focus has to shift from what you want for you, to what you want for your family. You can’t expect your children to be able to hike long hikes, climb the highest mountains or bike long trails right away. You have to lower the bar for what it takes to be an adventure, and get used to being outside more than doing outside. Slower pace, shorter distances, more stopping and observing, more taking care of others and less focus on reaching a goal. Learning to just be outside. That is the first step.

2. Explore locally

A short hike to the local forest campsite. Supper on the beach. A bike ride to a new trail. Looking for flowers or insects in the garden. These are all great adventures if you decide to treat them that way. Maybe your kid finds a tree to climb, or a bird to watch. A stone to throw in the water or a few  branches to build a shelter in the forest. I’m confident there’s hundreds of small adventures to be had in your local area. Starting by exploring locally helps lower the bar, and makes it easy to get in a small adventure in an afternoon.

3. Let the kids take part in planning the adventure

The most successful adventures for our family are those where our oldest participates in the planning. He can look at the maps with us. He knows if he wants to take a trail close to a river or if he wants to go somewhere where he can bring his bike.

When we have decided on where and when we’re going, he can help pack our backpacks. Knowing what kind of snacks and food we are bringing, if we are taking the bird book for some bird watching or the fishing rod to fish, helps him build anticipation and excitement for the outing. Also he can help decide what he wants to wear. If he wants to go as Superman we let him. We just make sure he has sensible clothes to keep him warm and dry underneath his suit. And taking Superman for a bike ride really does make for an adventure.

4. Be enthusiastic and present – find your inner child

Even if we sometimes really want to get to a certain summit or viewpoint or lakeside campsite, we know that the key to keeping everyone happy is to be enthusiastic and present in the moment. If we start thinking about what lies ahead, we often forget how amazing it can be to stop and climb a tree for half an hour. Or the importance of fueling when the kids show signs of being low on energy. If we’re not present, we’ll most likely miss the signs all together. And the enthusiasm will fade away quickly. We have to help the kids be enthusiastic about the outdoorsy lifestyle, through always being enthusiastic and present in our adventures. Big and small. That builds a feeling og being in this together.

5. Always keep warm, hydrated and energized

If you’re cold or too warm, thirsty or hungry, your mood most likely won’t be the best. Neither will your kids mood. And bad mood doesn’t make for the best family adventures. I highly recommend making sure your kids have clothes and shoes that keeps them warm and dry without limiting their range of motion. They need to be able to play freely to be able to enjoy. We believe layering is the best for our kids as well, that way we can remove a layer if they’re too warm while active or put on another layer when we sit down for lunch.

Making sure to bring plenty of fresh water and enough nutritional food is also important. Even if biscuits and chocolates are popular, our experience is that it’s much more important to make sure the kids eat properly while outside. They burn a lot of energy while active, so they need to eat something that help them stay energized instead of just fill their bellies and settles cravings for sweets. Fruits (dried and fresh), sandwiches and hot meals on the burner is what we tend to go for.

6. Just do it

But how do you find time? And how do we start? What about this and that? There’s thousand reasons not to start. To me it comes down to this; if you want to have an outdoorsy lifestyle with kids, just do it. Get outside. Today. Start small, take a short walk through the forest. Have dinner in the garden. Throw rocks in the lake. Just start. You can plan and decide all you want, but you’ll never have an outdoorsy lifestyle with kids until you get outside. And then do it again. Every time you can. Then you all of a sudden are leading an outdoorsy lifestyle with your kids. Enjoy!

I hope you enjoyed this post! If you would like to read more about keeping an outdoorsy lifestyle with kids, make sure you subscribe to my newsletter. Also consider following me on Instagram or YouTube, that would make me really happy! I wish you the very best of days!



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