School looks different this year. Socializing with friends and enjoying classes carefree is something that has been different this year. Building community right where you live is important. Quarantine taught us that we could make do with what we had in our homes, we could explore our whereabouts, gather, and create adventure outside.
There is so much beauty for children to find in the backyard, on the nature trail, or exploring a new park. 1000 Hours Outside recently shared that 89% of kids prefer outdoor play with friends to watching television. There is so much natural learning to be had when we step outside of our doors and just explore. Children are naturally inquisitive. I will often hand my children an oversized magnifying glass and watch them scour the backyard for hours on end searching for things.
I am more engaged with my children when adventuring as well. The humdrum of household chores has a tendency to suck me in while at home. When we are out and about making discoveries together, I find myself just as enthralled as a four-year-old with a magnifying glass.
When we are craving adventure with our children, while also wanting to connect with community and walk alongside others in this quest for exploration…what can we do?
Start an Adventure Club! Here are a few great tips to begin.
The truth is, you have to get out there. Make a commitment that this is important and dive in feet first. Will you adventure once a week? Will you adventure on the weekends or weekdays?
To get the word out about your adventures…you need to just start taking them. Head out with your family and immerse yourself in the moments of wonder as you explore a new creek or field. Share your findings with family or friends and invite them along.
Create a Facebook group and invite friends. This is a great way to “cast a bigger net.” Let them know what days you will be adventuring, brainstorm supplies needed, and meet up. If you gather and create the space, eventually someone may join. Until then, you just created an amazing commitment for yourself and your children to adventure!
Plan your Adventures
When you are ready to explore outside of your own backyard, start small. Begin with your own town and then research areas that are a reasonable drive from your home. Our state offers so many opportunities with a robust list of state parks and metroparks. Check their website or call ahead to ask questions. You can find out about bathrooms, parking, access, and strollers. When you find this information out, you can share it with any other families that may be interested in coming along with you!
Use an App
I laugh as I write this, because one of the best parts of adventuring is getting away from those pesky screens…and here I am recommending a screen to get there. With an app like Alltrails, you can read reviews, search areas, and even view photos along the trails.
Hike it Baby is a great group to join that will help you become aquainted with local hikes and areas near you. You can join along with their group and start becoming familiar with the areas around you.
Ask the Locals
A fellow explorer shared tips that led us to some of the best exploring we have done. A friend talking about a great nature trail, a family member with photos from a Michigan beach—we just asked where they went exploring and discovered our own favorite spots from there. Once you make this goal for yourself to get outside and adventure, it will be easy to talk and share about it. Become a detective within your own state and begin searching out local areas to explore with friends and family.
Once you begin building this community to adventure with, understand the ebbs and flows. There may be weeks or months that schedules cannot align and you are alone with your kids visiting new areas. There may be weeks that you have five other mama friends and you are chasing many little feet running down the trail. That’s okay. That’s part of it.
This is a win-win structure. You are getting out with your kids and trying something new; making an intentional decision to see new things and be present in the moment with them. You may have a very social adventure club one week, and a quiet trip the next. Community works that way and embracing the moment that you are in is a good lesson.
Understand it Will Be Work
It isn’t a secret that going anywhere with kids does require a bit of work. Packing snacks, bathroom breaks, naps, bug spray, sweat, and muddy clothes—that is all part of it.
You are not just exploring the land, you are exploring a relationship with each other. Choose your adventures wisely and maybe choose the more difficult discovery spots to visit when you have a friend along. Create a pack of supplies to keep in your car for backup, just in case.
One of my favorite recommendations is to read the book Adventuring Together: How to Create Connections and Make Lasting Memories with Your Kids. This was the book that set my soul on fire for exploring and adventuring with my family.
As you are reading this, I hope that something stirs in your soul to adventure. I hope that you seek out community to explore with and find yourself being present with your kids and friends who walk alongside you.