Outdoor Pursuits with Kids

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Jeremy, Family Ambassador

Outdoor pursuits with kids, always offer their own set of rewards and challenges. Anytime you are choosing to take kids out on an adventure, it’s important to keep an open mind as to how the trip may play out. Some days, kids are interested, captivated and overall excited by the adventures. Other days, kids seem to lack energy, and remain completely unimpressed by the wonders around them. It is on these days that it is important to adjust your adventures as required.

Take for example, our recent trip to Boom Lake, in Alberta, Canada. Boom Lake is a nice 5.1km hike slowly gaining in elevation through the forest. At the end of it, is a gorgeous lake with a beautiful backdrop. Of course, there is no evidence of this beautiful lake from our recent snowshoe adventure, because on this particular trip, we never made it that far. Although the kids were more than capable of doing this distance, our youngest just didn’t want to be there. So here are three important things to remember when your hiking dream is called into question.

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It is about the journey, not the destination.
This one can be hard for adults to accept. For adults, they want that perfect ending. They want to reach the lake, complete the mileage, get to the top of the summit. Kids however, aren’t always all that interested in the ending. If their energy is lacking, they just might not have what it takes to get to the goal that was set at the beginning of the day. Boom Lake was a perfect example of this for us. You can only respond to that, “when will we get there? I’m too tired. I have no energy,” so many times before you realize that the end goal just might not happen. That’s okay though. The point is, you are out there, being active and enjoying what nature has to offer. And it is better to enjoy the journey than to suffer through, just to reach your own goal. Save the big goals for the days when the kids are not with you, and use those family adventure days to enjoy the journey. In our case, this meant stopping before we reached the lake. It took a lot to turn around without reaching the end, but it was the right decision for the day and helped keep the adventure fun. Which leads into the next thing you must remember…

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Enjoy the journey.
Happy kids are moving kids. Be flexible in exactly what the journey looks like. First my son was too hot, so he took off his jacket and hat. These were stored away in our daypack and it kept him moving for awhile. Next however, my son was no longer wanting to be on his snowshoes. He was stopping every fifteen feet or so and sitting down in the snow. It was becoming a real struggle to keep him moving. He said he only wanted to hike in his boots, and not be on the snowshoes. Rather than get frustrated with him, we told him he could take off the snowshoes, but he had to carry them. And he agreed. This allowed us to continue along on our hike. The other kid was more than happy to be in his snowshoes, and often did bouts of running in them. And even though you might not have made it as far as you hoped…

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Celebrate what you did do.
When we reached our three kilometers, we stopped for our snack. This helped renew everyone’s spirits and soon enough we were on the way back to the car. Funny enough, it took a fraction of the time to get back to the car, and when we did get there, the kids were back playing in the big huge pile of snow at the side of the parking lot. They were happy with the journey and even happier to be playing in the snow. Kids are a funny group sometimes, and we just have to remember that fun can be had in all sorts of ways.

For now, we prepare for the next adventure. But in order for that to happen, we could really use some more snow!! We had to go a considerable distance out of our way to find enough snow for snowshoes. Although the east coast has been getting tons of snow, we really haven’t had much. But winter isn’t over yet, so there’s still time for some more snow to find us.

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