It used to not be this hard. As a kid, going outside meant freedom from my parents, time with friends in the neighborhood, and endless opportunities for my imagination. Plus, there wasn’t anything that exciting indoors except my same old toys and boring midday television talk shows. Now, it’s different. Indoors, there are screens and endless worm holes of social media, videos, and games. It’s become hard for nature to compete. Yet, the Seacoast outdoors with kids can be so fun! Here’s my advice on how to get your kids interested in the outdoors:
Make outdoor time = family time
A friend of mine started Sunday hikes as a weekly family activity. She used blogs and word of mouth to find fun, local spots to hike with her seven and nine year old. Her children built summer memories of conquering mountains, finding waterfalls, and enjoying trails.
The pandemic gave many families more time together, but with nowhere to safely go. Nature walks, hiking, paddling, or a picnic gets the family out of the house in a low covid risk activity. My children’s best memories from the pandemic have been the fishing trip with dad, summiting their first mountain, and swimming in the local Seacoast lakes. There’s never been a better time to explore the Seacoast outdoors with kids.
Start easy (but not boring) – Where to get outside with kids on the Seacoast!
Don’t have your first family outdoor adventure tackling a six mile hike in the White Mountain wilderness. Instead, start easy. Choose a local Seacoast nature walk that anyone can enjoy. In addition, rent some kayaks and try a short paddle! Just because it’s easy, doesn’t mean it’s boring. Here are my suggestions for great first time outdoor fun:
- Rent or borrow kayaks/canoe and try some great spots for beginners
- Try a Seacoast nature walk
- Teach your child how to ride a bike
- Try an easy White Mountain winter hike
- Explore the intertidal at Odiorne and discover sea creatures!
- Try easy camping by glamping or rent an RV!
Including treats in outdoor adventures is different than bribing. I never bribe my kids to go on a hike or get outdoors. However, I’ll often include a special food treat as part of our trail snacks. It adds a special association with outdoor time. The treat doesn’t need to be food related…one treat might be bringing a friend on your outdoor adventure or meeting up with special family members. My children associate time with Grandma to farm visits, snow tubing, sleigh rides, and hikes!
Get yourself interested in the outdoors, too!
As the late fall takes us into colder weather and shorter days, it’s hard to sometimes motivate to get outside. Beat the gloomies with a trip outdoors whether it’s an easy Seacoast nature walk, neighborhood bike ride, or hike in the mountains. The real secret to how to get your kids interested in the outdoors, is getting interested in it yourself.