Sometimes, just getting my toddler out of his pajamas and into clothes is a challenge — never mind actually getting all of the clothing, equipment and food together that we need for a day out hiking or skiing.

So, why bother?

When my son was an infant (thus easier to wrangle), I did it for my own sanity — my sense of normalcy. Spending time outside, listening to the wind rustling leaves (or sometimes tuning out nature and listening to a good podcast or an uplifting playlist) was just what I needed to feel like myself again.

I love being a mom, but when I forsake the things that bring me joy for the responsibilities of parenting, I begin to feel like a balloon without a string — bouncing along without direction.

The best solution for me is to take a little time for myself. Sometimes I’m able to sneak out on a run by myself, other times I take my little sidekick along for the ride.

Also, I could usually rely on a good nap for the little guy when we were out on a walk in the woods. For all members of my family, being well rested is the key to happy and healthy family life.

As my son has gotten older and begun to assert his independence, I’ve made an effort to take him on at least one (but usually more) outdoor adventure each week, to share our natural world with him. To help him face challenges (like walking on uneven terrain, instead of our smooth floors at home) and feel a sense of accomplishment when he achieves them.

I take him out so that he can fail — like when he tries to climb up a rock and slips off. Or skis too fast and falls down. I take him out so he can learn that failure is not the end of the story, but one small step along the way.

I take him out so that he can see that though he is just a small part of the world around him, his impact can be great. Whether we are looking at 50-year-old etchings on tree trunks, picking up trash left by others, cleaning up our camp before moving on, or helping a friend on the trail, we can discuss the impacts of our actions.

My greatest hope is to help shape him into a compassionate citizen, bettering the world for the next generation. {And I still take him out so we can get some rest.}

So how about you — why do you take your kids out on outdoor adventures?

Want to know how nature can make your child a better person and you a better parent? Click to find out more.

Originally published at

Originally published at