Flashback Friday: Take the Kids Outside

This post is from 2015, but the retrospective photos date back, in at least some cases, to 1998 when our first-born was a toddler. The message still seems completely relevant. Maybe I should do a second edition, showing our boys as teens and now adults, enjoying the outdoors with the family. (Oh, and yes, I know this Friday post is on Saturday. I consider knowing what day of the week it is a triumph!)

[Apparently I'd made some kind of plan to spiff up the blog, something I do on a regular basis--make the plans, that is, not necessarily carry them through]

In keeping with my new blog plan, instead of a book review, today I'm doing a sort of a trip review...a few shots of the kids enjoying the outdoors through the years, in hopes of reminding folks that there's no gift for the kids like taking them outside. I apologize for some of the photos--many of these pre-date our digital photography, and not all the scans turned out well.

Start them right from the beginning. Remember, the kid is a science experiment. Watch and see what happens!

Arches National Park, at 9 months    

 Teach them things like scrambling early, and they will gain skill and confidence even faster than Mom's hair turns grey with worry. Guess what, Mom? They need to learn, and you have to deal with it!

Joshua Tree National Park

Yes, getting very, very dirty is part of the deal. It doesn't hurt them. I learned that from a woman's diary of the Oregon Trail! I never forgot where she wrote that "we learned that a baby doesn't die if it's not bathed for 3 months." Oy. One week? I can do it! (Tip: when they are babies, find or make nylon pants. Those brush off easily when they've been crawling in the dirt. By the time they are 4 & 5, as here, it's a lost cause).
Green Lake, Sierra Nevada Mountains, CA

Even when they still need furry friends in their packs, they can hike and camp and have a great time!
Lost Creek Wilderness, CO

Kids can always find things to do and play with in the outdoors. Amazing how much there is to explore when the screens and keyboards are gone, and especially if there is a body of water about (note to parents: plan hikes and camping trips around water, but be careful of whitewater or deep water!)
Caribou Lake, Indian Peaks Wilderness, CO


In the mountains or at the beach, there are toys everywhere! Our boys, at least, seem to be able to throw things into water/float them away endlessly.
Stinson Beach, CA
 
Expose kids to as many varied environments as you can, so that they see that the world has endless variety.
 The Desert!
Death Valley NP, CA, during the record bloom of 2005

Go Underground! Science lurks everywhere, like when you discover that it's cold underground, even when it's hot hot hot on the surface
Lava Beds National Monument, CA.

Get cold! A single-digit day with high winds, and walking on a lake were new concepts for our California boys (tip for other warm-climate folks visiting the cold: we made a thrift shop nearly our  first stop, and picked up a couple of warm jackets for the boys, which could be left behind when we finished).
Maine at the NewYear. It made sense to us.

If you go outdoors, maybe you can even make some new friends.
A boy and someone else's dog--the only kind he got to experience.

When camping you will almost certainly enjoy some quality family time.
If there's only one chair, you might get a kid on your lap.

And, finally, the kids might even spend more time reading!
A tent is a good place to read at the end of a long day.

I just wanted to share a few photos and remind everyone that being outside, in whatever kind of nature you have, is good for kids. If you can take them to experience different kinds of places, it's even better. But everyone can visit the park, or dig a hole in the back yard. Let kids experience the earth!
 
©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2021
 As always, please ask permission to use any photos or text. Link-backs appreciated.
 

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