Photo: Shannon Robertson
When my brother and I were children, we spent countless days exploring the outdoors with our parents in our VW pop-top van. We didn't have the typical distractions of phones, TV, or computers like at home. Just our family and a whole lot of open space. I got cactus stuck in my hands, feet, and bottom, slid down cliff sides, got chased by wild animals, and broke a lot of bones. The person I am today is a direct result of all of these wild experiences.
Now that I'm a parent, I look forward to seeing how wilderness and wildness will shape the people my two children are going to become. With our new project, Born Wild, we hope to inspire other parents to explore with their children. Being a mom or a dad is the hardest job anybody can have and I'm here to share 5 reasons why you should explore with your kids -- even when it isn't easy.
Raising my kids to be active, rambunctious humans who explore their world with ferocity is super important to me. It's just as important to me that they stay healthy and I can't be at the top of my mom game if I'm not taking care of myself too. Healthier families help to build happier families. At the end of a day packed full of adventures, we've all earned a hearty meal and a nap -- which leads to my next point.
2. Adventures outside = serenity inside.
Kids are a little nuts sometimes -- and that's okay. An active day-to-day keeps my kids' bodies and minds engaged. The outdoors offers adventure, challenge, and unstructured fun. It encourages kids to be creative and to just play. When we get outside for the day rather than stay cooped up in the house, there is such a difference in their behavior. They run around. They explore. They fall and get up. They learn. And the best part is bedtime is a breeze when the kids are wiped out from the day.
3. We're valuing experiences, not things.
I became a mother at 25 years old and have been trying to figure it out every day since then. Although it may sometimes seem like it's a walk in the park, this job called motherhood is the most difficult thing I have done in my life. I don't know how to dress my kids in cute clothes, I don't know how to do fancy braids or throw a raging children's birthday party for the life of me. But the importance of getting my kids outside and staying active comes to me naturally. Life is about experiences and learning who we are and I don't know any better place to do that than in the solitude of nature.
4. They're learning life skills they can't learn in school.
In the event of the Zombie Apocalypse, I know my kids will be able to survive in the mountains. All kidding aside, the hands-on experience kids gain from exploring the outdoors is invaluable. They'll learn about the elements from building fires, about how connected our ecosystems are when we explore the local flora and fauna, and chopping wood (when they're older, of course!) will teach them about physics. The stars will teach them about our place in the universe and I think that's pretty neat.
5. Time spent outside is family time.
The time spent outside with my family as a kid is an invaluable experience to me and sticks with me to this day. Years later, all of those experiences have shaped me into the woman and mother I am today. As a mom, it is so important to me that I have time with my children without the distractions of home and modern technology. The outdoors provides the perfect environment to get to know your kids and create lasting memories together.