Our 5 Favorite Family Outdoor Activities by Debi Huang of Go Explore Nature

 

bbb originalAs a blogger who writes about connecting kids and families to nature, I get asked one question a lot: “What are your family’s favorite ways to spend time outside?”

I should preface my response by pointing out that we don’t believe nature and the great outdoors is something we have to travel to a national park to see (though we love to do so!). Even though we live in the very urban jungle of Los Angeles, we still find ways to get outside and into nature as a family right in our own neighborhood.

If you’d like to spend more time outside with your family, you don’t have to invest an entire weekend or tons of money. You don’t even have to be that adventurous! All you need is a bit of patience and a sense of wonder.

As proof, take a look-see at some of our favorite things to do outside as a family.

5 Favorite Family Outdoor Activities

30 x 30 flowerNeighborhood Nature Walks

Like most people, our weekdays are pretty busy. Sometimes the simplest way for us to get outside together is by taking a walk around the neighborhood.
Of course, we like to make our walks fun. Sometimes we’re out looking for nature “treasures;” other times we add a kid-friendly element such as a camera or flashlight. We’ve even given special names to certain parts of our neighborhood (like “stick alley” and “pine cone corner”) to help make our walks feel more like grand adventures.

30 x 30 flowerTide Pool Discoveries

We’re lucky enough to live less than 30 minutes away from the coast – and we take advantage of that fact all year long. But not for surfing or catching rays like many others might. We spend our time at the beach touring tide pools, searching for seashells and exploring sea caves.

Don’t live close to the beach? Explore a local lake, river, stream or pond instead. Any body of water offers a world of potential discoveries.

30 x 30 flowerWildlife Watching

My husband and I share a passion for seeing animals in the wild. (We spent our honeymoon with polar bears along Hudson Bay if that’s any indication.) These days we share that passion with our kids.

Within driving distance of Los Angeles, we’ve gone whale watching (both aboard a boat and from shore), Monarch Butterfly watching and bird watching (wetlands, marshes and lakes are perfect spots for this).

30 x 30 flowerBike Rides to the Beach

We’ve found that our kids are much more motivated to ride when there’s a special destination in mind. So sometimes we’ll pack a picnic and ride to the beach. If you don’t have a beach nearby, head to a local park instead.

30 x 30 flowerTrail Adventures

We spend a fair amount of time on local trails, but not necessarily with an end destination in mind. We look for trails with kid-friendly features like a waterfall, rock pile, forest or river. Sometimes we invite friends along. And sometimes we turn our walk into a high-tech treasure hunt by geocaching. Just don’t forget to bring along the snacks!

Your turn! What is your favorite way to get outside and into nature as a family?

 

Debi Go ExploreABOUT DEBI: Debi Huang is a Los Angeles-based wife, mom and adventure guide for two young boys. Her blog at Go Explore Nature is all about getting kids and families outdoors and connected to nature – whether in your own backyard or beyond.

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This piece was written by Debi Huang of Go Explore Nature exclusively for Bonbon Break Media, LLC.

Comments

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Comments

  1. says

    We have been implementing a 15 minute rule lately. Even if the weather is horrid, the kids have to go outside for at least 15 minutes when my son comes home from school. It makes a tremendous difference for them and me! My next step is to start heading out around the island when school is out instead of heading home so we can hit those tidepools, beaches and hikes.

    • says

      We love the 15-minute rule, Val! Keeping it simple can help, too, like looking for cloud formations or listening to the sounds of nature. Even if we’re only out for 15 minutes, it makes a huge difference in how we feel after. Keep up the great work!

  2. says

    We have a similar 15-minute rule like Val. If we didn’t, my house would not be standing. The Wonder Kids current favorite outside activity is “storming Mulch Castle”. We had a load of pine mulch delivered. It was piled in the side yard. It’s massive. The Wonder Kids decided it was a castle so they have fun storming the castle, climbing all over it, hiding stuff under a layer of mulch, and sliding down the side on their Tonkas. Since it was free and they’re enjoying themselves, I haven’t made too much of an effort to move it or use it.

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