Outdoor activities with a healthy dose of curiosity, brought to you by Laure Latham
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January is already 5 days old, so I shouldn’t delay in sharing our 2017 outdoor resolutions for families. A few years ago, I would simply have shared outdoor resolutions with kids but now that my girls are 11 and 13, they are fully part of the decision process in all our outdoor adventures. Hence the outdoor resolutions for families and my girls are very motivated, so here are ours.
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From new projects to beloved activities, here are our main outdoor resolutions for 2017.
Walking or hiking is great for your health and that’s an activity that we love to do as a family. Sometimes, however, we need some incentives to get out the door and into the woods. Meeting friends friends or going foraging is always a great excuse but yesterday, we found a bigger one – walk 1,000 miles in 2017!
I subscribe to Country Walking magazine and January 2017’s issue has a cool insert on How to #walk 1000 miles in 2017. Though 1,000 miles sounds sounds like a lot, it’s very manageable spread over 365 days. In fact, doctors recommend walking 10,000 steps per day to keep fit and that’s about 1,825 miles per year. So by committing to 1,000 miles, you’re already doing more than half of your “apple a day” health challenge. Both my girls and I subscribed, quite excited by the challenge.
They asked if there was a reward, as kids like to know there’s a prize and I said yes (even though there’s none other than bragging rights and health benefits.) What else could I say? I’ll have to think of something that my girls would consider prize worthy, I guess.
Some of my girls’ options to achieve the challenge as kids are:
To keep track of your progress, you can
This one will be harder for us to achieve, as we only managed 4 camping trips in 2016 and 2 in 2015. Without a car, camping means backpacking and my girls’ weekend activities make overnight camping trips challenging. Maybe the solution lies in doing microadventures, these one-nighters close to home inspired by British adventurer Alastair Humphreys.
We already do 2 big backpacking trips a year in May and October, so that’s 2 months set, and we also do refuge-to-refuge backpacking with friends in the Pyrenees in August, which I count as camping given the conditions. That leaves 9 other months to throw in camping trips, regardless of the weather or the season. What are we thinking?
This one’s the brainchild of my 11-year-old who follows Little Miss Bento on Instagram and loves everything Bento. If you’re not familiar with Bento boxes, they are traditional Japanese take-out meals that usually include rice, vegetables, fruit and hot soup. The twist with Kawaii Bento boxes is that the meals are “cute”, as kawaii stands for everything cute in Japanese. Some kawaii Bento boxes are true works of art, with quail eggs shaped as cute ghosts, rice balls shaped as teddy bears or omelets shaped as suns. We’ll probably do simple designs and my daughter is already excited about going out on picnics to experiment on Bento boxes (that fit in a backpack).
So far, I’ve only seen Kawaii Bento box pictures set inside so I have my reservations as to whether Bento meals travel well on Sunday hikes in backpacks. I guess that’s part of the fun. We’ll find out for sure!
So far, we only backpack as a family of 4 or with friends who are seasoned backpackers. This year, my girls would like to each introduce one of their friends to backpacking and I’m looking forward to the opportunity. Most of their friends come from urban families without much outdoorsy equipment.
To make things fun and easy, we’ll probably do a kids tent (ours is a 4-person 3-season tent) and 2 adults bivvying nearby (we have 2 bivvy bags). That should cover 2 more kids and hopefully, introduce them to a lifelong passion.
Granted, that’s provided that their friends’ parents agree. I’ll work on that.
We’ve never done this but last year, I discovered Family on a Bike through their Twitter account and though they’ve changed gears to family adventures, the cycling page on their website is a great source of inspiration for family cycling holidays. Apart from my husband, none of us 4 has great bikes and my 13-year-old sometimes cringes at the very idea of cycling. I think that we’ll take baby steps and do a cycling microadventure (there goes the concept again) when days get longer before engaging in big cycling adventures.
Open water swimming is a passion for my husband and I so we’ll probably join or organize a few open water swimming challenges throughout 2017.
The last outdoor resolution that doesn’t necessarily involve the 4 of us is learning wilderness survival skills, a topic that my 11-year-old is very keen on. Ever since she’s read Hatchet and My Side of the Mountain, she’s been quite gung-ho about learning to survive in the wild.
How about of these Bear Grylls family survival courses, has anybody tried that?
Chances are, 2017 will see quite a few more outdoor adventures that we haven’t planned yet.
Happy new year and best wishes to you and yours. Remember, it’s all about having fun!