“We have such a brief opportunity to pass on to our children our love for this Earth, and to tell our stories. These are the moments when the world is made whole. In my children's memories, the adventures we've had together in nature will always exist.”

- Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder

Those of us who consider ourselves outdoor-lovers would never deny the psychological, physical and cognitive benefits of getting outside. That’s why we invited some of our own dad friends for tips on how they get their kids into the outdoors more often. In a modern world where “going outside” means stepping out the door into a concrete jungle fraught with rushing people and speeding cars instead of backyard hamlets and bike-able neighborhoods, we were eager to hear what they had to say.

 

Let your kids, no matter how old, be a part of planning the trip. Some of the best places I've been were picked off of a map by my son Tristan, he either thought the name was cool or thought the place looked interesting when viewed from a satellite image online. Plan out your trip the best you can but always be prepared to detour once the kids decide something is more interesting. It's like instead of hiking, they discover the cool noise rocks will make when thrown onto a frozen lake and then proceed to bounce rocks for the next hour. Once we are in the wilderness, I just let my kids imagination take over, whether it's searching a creek for waterfalls, exploring around a remote lake for old campsites, building rock bridges in water, or even just trying to find the largest pinecone out there. Every large grin I observe or loud "Whoa" exclaimed when seeing something spectacular for the first time, tells me the little ones are happy and excited about living in the moment outdoors. Also, I love all the questions about nature and that learning occurs on every trip (even learning for me). Take your camera along for pictures and videos to capture the moments!” 

- Ben Klecker from @highcascadesdrifter, and his family pictured below

 

 

“There are a lot of benefits to taking your children outside. Not only can we escape our busy lives in the city for a while, but we can get close to nature to observe the beauty of the mountains, flora and fauna while watching our children develop teamwork, strength and confidence through our outdoor activities. We also enjoy learning about different cultures while we travel and we take treks at least twice a year in different regions or countries to show our kids how life can differ from theirs and how to accept and appreciate others.” 

- Mingma Tenzing Sherpa, Sherpa Adventure Gear Athlete and Professional Mountain Guide

 

I love walking with the kids. Either we see something or the conversation along the way brings up something remarkable or funny. I also enjoy making things with the kids - from dens to dams -, watching their skills improve and most of all their imagination. Their ability to invent a game matching their surroundings never ceases to amaze me. When we are out, they are never bored and very often in a good mood. If you enjoy it, there's a very good chance that they will enjoy it, too.” 

- John Martin from @myblueberry_adventures

 

 

Dad Blogger, Michael Barton, encourages parents by reminding them that it doesn’t take much to get your kids outside. Simply considering the time it takes to get to a park, what weather appropriate clothing you’ll need, and whether or not you’ll need a snack is really the only pre-planning it takes. Men’s Journal, says to stop feeling guilty for simply telling your kids to “go outside”. What might feel like an alone-time cop-out, actually gives the parents a much needed breather, while the kids are allowed to stretch their own imaginations.

Share your own dad adventures with us this Father’s Day by tagging #WeAreSherpa on Instagram and Facebook. We’d love to see how you’re planning to get outside this summer.

For more information, feel free to check out the following resources: No Child Left Inside, The Outdoor Industry Association, and The Nature Conservancy.