Awake & Alive
10 Outdoor Activities Dads Should Do With Kids

10 Outdoor Activities Dads Should Do With Kids

Children belong outside. Children thrive outdoors. Yet there is a growing trend where our kids are going outside to play less and less. As dads it is our duty to teach our kids to play and enjoy nature. Not only is is great for them, it is their birth right. The world is the best playground and the summer time is the best time of year to enjoy it.

Here are 10 activity ideas for dads and the whole family outdoors and living life.

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#1 Hiking

I have always loved a nice long walk in nature through the quiet woods on some wandering trail. Even as an adult this remains my favorite activity, but it all began as a young boy going on “nature walks.”

#2 Fishing

Nearly every grand adventure I had as a youth has to do with fishing. Take a kid fishing; better yet TEACH them to fish. Don’t know how? Learning together not only will you create a lifetime of memories, but you also will teach them a valuable life skill. Catching fish means you can eat.

#3 Canoeing/Boating/Kayaking

I put this one right under fishing because for me most of my fishing growing up was done on skinny dark rivers that were hard to get to, but if you were willing to work for it you would end up in some remote untouched wilderness. That dear reader creates memories forever for a child. I have seen more wildlife and learned more about weather from a canoe than any other activity I have done. One of the most fond memories I have is fleeing an incoming storm and while making our hasty retreat (my dad at the stern and me at the bow) three river otters shared our escape swimming alongside the craft and playing a rousing game of peek-a-boo. Every child deserves a memory like this!

#4 Climbing Trees

This is the quintessential childhood activity. Well at least it used to be a generation ago. Now we constantly say, “don’t climb that!” or “get down!” Instead we should be fostering their instinct to climb. Help your child climb a tree, let them know it is ok. Let them be a kid and have fun in a tree.

#5 Explore a Creek

The first house I lived in as a wee lad had a creek behind it. It was so much fun to look under the rocks for weird alien like creatures and skip from rock to rock. Kids are super curious and exploring a creek is a great way to show them a unique ecosystem.

#6 Go Catch Bugs

Insects aren’t as gross as adults make them out to be (except cockroaches, they are bastards) in fact they are the most successful creature on the planet. Give your kid an empty jar and tell them to bring back some bugs then you can identify them together. *Note: knowing your insect species is super sexy and will most likely aid in your child finding a suitable mate later in life.

#7 Water Anything

From playing in the rain which is awesome (been doing that a lot lately with my 2 year old), to a lake, to the ocean, to rivers, to the swimming pool. The Earth is covered 71% by water and humans are made up of 60% water. This means two things; the first, your child will eventually come in contact with water and they should be comfortable and confident near, in and around it. The second, your child will not melt if he or she gets wet. Most kids love water so help them embrace this by early and often exposure.

#8 Just BE Outdoors

Our house has a deck and a porch and we use both. As I write this article I am positioned on the floor of the porch, my 4 month old beside me in tummy time trying to figure out how to crawl, and my two year old is climbing the wicker chez lounge. I don’t have any plans or structure for them. We aren’t doing any specific activities like the ones above, but we are outside because it is a nice day and we can be. Sometimes it’s not about the activity but more about being outside and enjoying fresh air.

#9 Camping

Nothing like that first overnighter in the wild, or maybe the backyard; to a kid though even camping in the back yard is powerful. It is a sense of freedom, of primal independence. “Mommy and daddy are 50 feet away but I am so brave out here!” Then after the back yard the real fun begins. Crisp nights in backcountry, a roaring fire, stars by the billions, camping can bring so much enjoyment and teaches a whole slew of life skills. Furthermore a bad camping trip can be one of the greatest teachers in life, poor weather, plans falling through, forgetting important gear and learning to deal and adapt. These are all important lessons one learned in the woods, and kids are like sponges so let them soak it up!

#10 Visit a Working Farm

I had the privilege of having a 170 acre New England farmhouse in rural New Hampshire in my mom’s parents, and 2,000 acre hog and cattle farm in Eastern, North Carolina that was my Great Grandmother’s on my dad’s side. Both had animals, both had crops, both had danger around every turn, one was hills and old forest, lots of big rocks and creeks; the other a swamp. I had free reign and roam over both and it was GLORIOUS. Now you may not have access to a family farm for your children like I did, BUT you can go visit a farm with your kids let them see the animals, the tools and learn about farming. We have several in my area that offer such tours and accommodations to the little ones. This is a great way for your child to see a different way of life and a livelihood of yesteryear.

I hope this article give you some direction and ideas for getting you and your kids outdoors and letting them flourish.

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