Getting outside in nature is an essential part of the human experience. Whilst there are some of us that feel more in-tune with the outdoors than others, most of us can appreciate a crisp autumn walk or a stunningly scenic landscape.

What is an outdoor adventure?

The definition of an outdoor adventure is likely to be different for everyone. For some families, going on an outdoor adventure might mean going to the local woods or beach, and for others, it might mean going on a camping trip away from home.

Whatever you choose, taking your family on an outdoor trip can feel daunting for those who aren’t used to venturing outdoors regularly themselves. Especially with young children, leaving the home requires a certain level of preplanning, and heading off the beaten path means that there’s potentially unlikely to be a shop or toilet within a few minutes’ walking distance.

Children on an outdoor adventure

But the effort it might take to get everyone suited and booted for going outside will be worth it. Spending time outdoors has been proven to offer plenty of health benefits  – from helping with children’s development to reducing stress, and even the simple fact that going outside gets us moving and our step count up. So how can you feel confident and reassured that you’re keeping everyone safe so that you can relax and enjoy the great outdoors? We share our top tips.

Making a plan

The first step to any adventure is making a plan – consider where you’re going, who’s coming, and what the weather is going to be like. Not only can answering these questions help you feel prepared for your trip, but they can also help boost your excitement.

If you have slightly older children, they can help you with this planning stage. Give them a few options of locations or activities and talk about them together as a family, so you can all pick your favorites, or set them off on their own research.

At this point, it’s also worth considering what you’d do if someone hurt themselves, or if a child got lost. Check out the location of your nearest emergency hospital and talk to any older children about a meetup point if you get separated. Although this might not be necessary if you’re just going into a park or somewhere with plenty of people around, it’s essential if you’re going out hiking or camping in a new location like Vik I Myrdal in Iceland.

Additionally, if you’re heading out on a really adventurous activity, you may want to let someone else know where you’re going and what time you expect to be back.

Children on an outdoor adventure

What to pack

Clothing

Once you’ve decided on your outdoor adventure, you can start to think about what to pack. The time of year will likely dictate what you wear, but it’s always good to pack a few extra layers in winter, and a raincoat (even in summer) so that you’ll be comfortable and protected against the elements. This is particularly important for children – as many parents will know, when children are uncomfortable, they tend to make it known, and everyone quickly stops having a good time.

Footwear is also an important part of any outdoor activity. Trainers are fine for the summer weather, but in the winter or if you’re hiking, you’ll want to make sure that you and the kids are wearing waterproof shoes with sufficient sole and ankle support. This can be tricky to budget for when kids are constantly growing – to cut costs, you could buy shoes second-hand and then use a waterproofing spray to give them a second lease on life.

First aid kit

You don’t need to pack a lot, but taking some plasters, blister pads, antiseptic wipes, and potentially a bandage or two in a small DIY first aid kit can be useful in the event that something doesn’t quite go to plan. It’s not uncommon for kids to fall over in wooded areas, or get a shallow cut whilst playing – having the tools to hand to patch them up can get them back up and running around in no time.

You may also want to pack some insect repellent to stop you from getting bitten in wooded areas or near water, as well as some sunscreen.

Family outdoor adventure

Water and snacks

A must-have for any little adventurer, a good supply of water and snacks will help keep the whole family going. Opt for adventure-friendly foods like trail mix, pre-prepared veg sticks, and fruit that kids can grab without needing any cutlery or having to sit down.

Slow-release energy foods will help keep them moving all day, but putting in some of their favorite treats can help add a special, fun element to the day. Make sure to pack some hand sanitizer or baby wipes as well to clean up before they tuck in quickly.

Take things slow

The excitement and exertion of exploring a new location can leave kids feeling a little tired out, so make sure to take plenty of breaks. If your child is reluctant to stop, you can frame it as an activity – get them to sit still and see how many birds they can spot, or create a story together about the animals that live in the natural environment you’re in.

You should also ensure that you’re paying attention to how far you’ve walked and are aware of when you need to turn around. There’s no point in going too far if you’re going to get stuck carrying your kids back to the car, or if it will get dark – leave plenty of time, and accept that in some cases, you’ll have to come back to explore another day.

Fun for all the family

The most important thing about exploring the great outdoors is that everyone has fun and is safe. Positive experiences in nature in childhood can foster a lifelong love for the planet, as well as boost well-being and create treasured memories.

Follow our planning tips to ensure that parents and kids alike can relax and enjoy getting to know the world beyond their doorstep.

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