Today’s post comes from a friend of mine in the hopes that more families will choose an outdoor vacation. Kirsty loves the outdoor world and bringing the wonder of it to her kids. With her blog, Get Kids Outside, she’s hoping to inspire others to do the same and get their kids outside more.
I’ve been on lots of different kinds of vacations with my kids over the years – we’ve taken beach holidays, road trips, stayed in resorts and also camped. No matter what the kind of holiday we choose I always try and incorporate some outdoor time and activities but I have to say that some of the best holidays we’ve had have been those that are outdoors from the start! Here’s some of the reasons why I think you should choose an outdoor vacation with your kids:
1) They can be as cheap as you want them to be
As a mum who almost always travels on a budget, this is the most important thing for me. Camping can often be a really cheap way of getting away, especially with kids, but more than just the cost of a place to lay your head is the fact that there’s a wealth of entertainment on hand. You don’t have to create it, just go for a walk and wonder finds you.
Staycations are also great for finding out more about the outdoors on your own doorstep. So often we dismiss it due to it being familiar, but I’ll bet there are many cool things to see and do wherever you are.
2) Lack of wifi, electronics and distractions
Lots of people moan about kids being distracted by modern technology and certainly an outdoor vacation will curb that, but really it’s not even just about the kids. Adults can also spend way too much time on various electronic devices, connecting online but not always connecting to what and who is around them. Take the opportunity away and you’ll see that it can open up a huge world and one of the best things is…
3) Creating connections with your kids
How often do we forget to chat and just get to know our kids? We’re all so busy that it can be just second nature to just exist alongside one another without creating deeper connections. An outdoor vacation can help by taking away the distractions of normal life; the electronics, the consumerism of shopping trips and the mindless busyness of life. It slows us down, helps us get to know each other better and creates some great memories.
4) They can increase some great skills
Every outdoor vacation teaches us something, whether we’re learning how to pace ourselves while cycling a trail, how to light a campfire or how to read a map. These skills might not be something that is traditional in normal education and might not even be something that will be put on a college application, but they are great skills nonetheless.
My kids have learned so much over the past few years – bird calls, animal tracks, how to make fire, how to tie certain knots, how to pitch a tent and even the names of some constellations. They’ve opened up the world to them and it’s shaped their thoughts for the future – my daughter developed a keen interest in rocks and is now considering a career in geology!
5) Health benefits
Being outside can bring all sorts of health benefits. Fresh air just makes you feel better inside, something I think you can tell within yourself, but there’s also some other things that are beneficial when being outside.
Vitamin D is absorbed from the sun and is essential for all of us, young and old so getting some exposure to the sun helps keep us all topped up naturally.
Getting muddy and dirty can also introduce microbes that strengthen our immune system. We’re not designed to be confined to a regulated indoors environment!
And then of course there’s the physical effort involved in cycling, hiking or even splashing around in a water hole – all good ways to get kids active.
6) It reduces stress
As well as the more physical health benefits I just mentioned, there’s a host of psychological benefits to time spent outside.
If you tie it in with the lack of normal distractions your stress levels, which you might not realise are even high, can come right down. This isn’t just for adults though – kids can suffer from enormous amounts of stress too, perhaps from school pressure or even problems with friends. A trip in the outdoors can really help to either forget about them all or just to put them in to perspective.
7) They can help build confidence
While your kids are learning all new skills that come with an outdoor vacation they’re also building confidence. Perhaps they will look at the hill in front of them that you intend to climb and doubt if they can do it – that feeling when they do indeed make it to the top will be amazing for them.
If you decide on an outdoor trip that includes some adventure activities it can even help push their limits that way too.
8) They can be once in a lifetime opportunities
What I love about being in the outdoors and often about introducing the outdoors more when we travel further afield is the fact that they can present once in a lifetime opportunities. If you live in an urban environment then a trip in to the woods, camping and exploring nature can be something amazing and unique. Similarly, if you live a long way from the coast, a trip incorporating the beach and perhaps some water sports there will be memorable. You could also add in some exciting and adventurous sports that you might not get chance to do at home!
9) The can inspire them on to bigger and better adventures
Getting out of your comfort zone and taking your kids along for the ride can be excellent ways to encourage your kids to head out on their own adventures as they get older too. They’ll see their parents grabbing life by the horns and will emulate that with their own trips as they develop independence. This can be scary for a parent to watch mind you, but oh so good for your kiddo!
10) Lastly, they are just great fun and make so many memories
Resort holidays can blend in to one another, whereas trips with the outdoors at the heart of them can be so unique and make so many memories that are never forgotten. The simplicity of being outdoors and of connecting can sound like it’s not going to be much fun but believe me, it’s always proved me otherwise!