Wildwater will be starting its 45th season in less than a month! In all those years we have striven to make safety and fun our priorities. There is nothing better than participating in outdoor activities with your children, but it has become harder over the years for families to find the time and resources that help in getting kids comfortable and wanting to participate in outdoor activities.
The 2014 Outdoor Recreation Participation Report by the The Outdoor Foundation states that “Nationwide initiatives that reconnect youth to the outdoors are critical to ensuring healthy, active communities and a future for outdoor conservation.” The largest percentage of people participate in outdoor activities to get more exercise, but a close 2nd is to be with friends and family. Also at the top is to be close to nature, get away from usual demands of life, observe scenic beauty and to experience excitement/adventure.
5 Tips to Getting Kids Outdoors and Enjoying It!
Build Their Confidence. They’re kids; so they are probably not going to be rock stars at everything right off the bat, but always tell them they did a good job. The more confident they feel about something the more willing they are to want to continue and get better at it.
Start Small. It doesn’t matter how long the trip is, it can be just a half mile hike from the car to the Over-look. It’s a fun adventure for them. You can have a goal or something to achieve while you are there. Picnic, taking photos, collecting seashells, etc. From there you can go on bigger adventures. Keep in mind they may not have the stamina, so keep an eye on them and have a back up plan if they don’t seem like they are going to make the entire trip.
Allow Them to Bring a Friend. This makes everything more enjoyable for them, it’s a partner in crime, another kid around that sees everything as they are seeing it too. Try to remember how magical everything was when you were little, it was amazing!
Provide Proper Gear. You hate wearing ill fitting gear, right? Pretty sure you’re kids will too. If you want them to enjoy being outside then make it easy for them to be outside. Plenty of outfitters have kid sized gear with reasonable pricing, OR try online for used gear other kids have grown out of.
Bring Snacks Along. Being outside and running around burns calories. Try bringing snacks that they don’t normally have, GORP (Good ‘Ole raisins and peanuts, with M&M’s and granola- a great outdoor treat!). A sugary treat will also help perk them up if they start running out of steam on the home stretch.
At Wildwater, we try and make it convenient and easy for families to participate in the out of doors. With five different Canopy Tour locations (and a new Kid’s Zip) and four Rafting locations with differing difficulty levels; any parent can find an adventure that suites their family.