Getting Started - Tips for Successful Outings

Share great tips for making a family's first outdoor outing - whether it's backpacking, paddling, or a simple walk in the local park - educational, safe, and fun.


August 5, 2013
Averting meltdown - 3 tips from a developmental psychologist


1.  Lower your expectations by 1/2 to  1/3 when planning. Kids' brains send signals of both joy and unhappiness within shorter time frames and after less effort than do adults' brains. Plan accordingly.

2. A terrific nutrition researcher colleague once said "sugar is an analgesic." Recent findings suggest she's not off-base-- sucrose may actually blunt children's experience of mild pain and discomfort. The suprise and pleasure of a can of Coke in the wilderness can avert meltdown.

3. Framing: We remember past events by how we tell the stories of triumph and tribulation, afterwards. No one is perfect, and everyone (including me) is likely to have a meltdown at some point on a trip. Re-frame those episodes as "minor mishaps"  rather than tragic dramas - everyone will remember those trips as "best times ever." 

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May 15, 2012
Ideas for fun on the trail
  1. My 2-year-old loves throwing rocks in the water, especially off bridges. If your kids haven't discovered this yet, it is 10-15 minutes of non-stop concentrated fun activity. A bridge, stream, pond or puddle all work.
  2. I try to point out birds and what kind of birds they are (I'm not much of a bird-watcher). Occasionally we can see into ponds and streams with fish, which he also enjoys seeing.
  3. In Maine we have a tradition of "fairy houses" which one will find along the trail in places. Kids make small shelters (4-12 inches high typically) out of the natural materials in the immediate vicinity.



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May 24, 2017
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September 7, 2012
What are your best ideas for outdoor fun?

Kids Outdoors blogger Heather Stephenson recently posted ten easy outdoor activities with kids. What are your best ideas?

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September 5, 2013
Outside Rainy Day activities

Do you ever take your kids to do an outdoor activity in the rain? So often we think of rainy day activities as inside activities, but some of my best memories of being outside is being out in the rain like being under a pavilion watching a thunderstorm or being kept dry under the canopy of trees on a hike. What outside rainy day adventures have you shared with your kids? 


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May 1, 2012
Things to Bring

What are the must haves for a trip with Kids?  What type of clothing, equipment, food and books?

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Tip of the Day

Build Fairy Houses: Construct tiny homes from fallen sticks, twigs, leaves, rocks, and other natural materials, without disturbing living plants.

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