By: Jennifer Kolz from TETON Sports
You’re going to find some great articles on this subject, with great ideas for getting kids excited about The Great Outdoors. Not being sure how I could add value to the existing canon of tips, I decided to ask my children what gets them excited about the outdoors. Here’s how my Q&A with the kiddos went.
Question 1 [Setting: Hiking down a ravine near camp]
Me: What gets you excited about the outdoors?
Oldest (16-year-old boy): The unexpected. (This young man is especially talkative, but he’s not one to waste words on this subject.)
14-year-old boy: Nature. Mountains, climbing, trees . . . good gear. (I work for TETON Sports, so, yeah, we’re raising him right.) ?
11-year-old girl: The chance to take beautiful pictures. (This one has been asking for an Instagram account for over a year now.) ?
7-year-old girl: “My favorite thing about being outdoors . . . (looks around her and up at the sky) is climbing, parkour . . . and spending time with my family. (She’s our peacekeeping, fun-loving enthusiast)
4-year-old boy (taking his cue from the oldest): Fun.
Question 2 [Setting: On our way to do some off-roading]
Me: What do you love about the outdoors?
16-year-old boy: I love the trees.
Me (pushing for more of a response this time): Nice. Seems to me you love the rocks too.
16-year-old boy: I DO love the rocks.
Me: And the views?
16-year-old boy: I might like the rocks more than I like the trees. I might like the views more than I like the trees, but I might also like the rocks more than I like the views. (Finally, a full response.)
14-year-old boy: ALL of it! The ability to just be able to like, just be here, under the blue sky, in the sun and just be able to take off on a hike with my family. And . . . the cot tent definitely helps. (He means our Outfitter XXL Cot with the Camp Pad and Tent of the same name . . . check out the whole set here.)
11-year-old girl: How you can find every single color in it. (She’s our painter.)
7-year-old girl: I love the animals!
Me: Oh, yeah! What wildlife have we seen on this trip already?
Everyone at once: Antelope . . . lizards . . . squirrel . . . birds . . . cows. (Not sure we’ll count that last one as wildlife.) ?
4-year-old boy: The lizards and the boulders. And I like the climbing.
Me: Do you like sleeping in the tent?
4-year-old boy: (nods head)
Question 3 [Setting: Sitting together in camp snacking]
Me (Starting to my left and going around the circle): What’s your favorite thing to do in the outdoors?
4-year-old boy: Play on rocks. Watch the fire.
7-year-old girl: I don’t know. I like camping, climbing, hiking. I like looking at the fire. Collecting rocks (I’m cringing a bit with this one). And my personal favorite, (she pauses for effect) watching the clouds.
14-year-old boy: Uh, my favorite thing to do in the outdoors? Find a comfortable place to sit with my hat or something to cover my eyes with and lay there for hours.
Me: (A bit perplexed) I’ve never seen you do that in the outdoors. But, as soon as the wind dies down, we should get out the hammock and find a place to hang it.
11-year-old girl: I like singing songs around the campfire. (And this girl can really sing!)
16-year-old boy: I think like most of it. Probably like jumping and then climbing, in that order. And then I like sight-seeing next. (He’s got the hang of it now) ?
So, you’ve probably noticed that I just asked similar questions at different times during our trip while they were most immersed in the setting. I was able to get a whole list of things to be sure we do each time we get outdoors together so they can stay excited about the trip.
I hope this helps inspire you and your family to get outdoors together soon! For great gear that we can all afford, remember to check out the products at tetonsports.com.
About the Author:
Jennifer Kolz is a ray of sunshine at TETON Sports. You can’t help but smile from ear to ear when she is in the room.