Whether you’re a work outside the home dad or a stay-at-home dad, sometimes it can be difficult to find time to bond with your kids. You know, real bonding time where you give the kids undivided attention by doing something you all enjoy. Why not consider embracing the great outdoors, experiencing the natural world and introducing it all to your kids, no matter the season?
It doesn’t matter how old or young your kids are, you can all go out and enjoy the great outdoors. Put the baby in the stroller, strap backpacks to your older kids and bundle into the car for an adventure. Whether you’re planning a day trip or a longer weekend camping, this is a real chance for you to bond with your kids without interference from technology and other interruptions.
Camping is a real adventure, especially in colder weather. If you’re brave enough to take control and make it a solo event, leaving mom to relax and enjoy the quiet at home, your kids will really get their chance to connect with you.
Spending time in the great outdoors is awesome for kids–fresh air bolsters their immune systems and camping gives you the opportunity to spend days in nature. You can build your own fire, toast marshmallows and other treats and spend time sharing with your children. You can read stories, make up ones of your own or just follow your kids’ lead–the possibilities with a spot of land and a great imagination are endless.
As it gets warmer, sleeping in a tent outdoors is another great experience which kids really enjoy and find exciting. Getting comfy may be difficult at first, but you can all snuggle down and learn to love the experience. Expect to be awakened in the early hours by sniggering and giggling, but this is half the fun.
If camping isn’t for you, there are a range of one-day outdoor pursuits you can enjoy with your kids without setting up camp. Consider bird watching or bug hunting, two activities bound to get kids of any age excited. Research local areas and go on an adventure looking for rare species and spying on nests.
Geocaching, or technological treasure hunting using your smart phone or navigation unit, is another fun collection activity where you look for interesting things hidden by others in the local area.
A simple walk in the woods can be another great way of bonding with your kids. Many local parks have winter and spring activities. Taking a stroll in your local nature park gives you a chance to chat and laugh with your kids on a one-to-one basis and help them appreciate nature while you appreciate them! These are also opportunities to teach your kids in a fun and interactive way without them getting bored or fed up. Spot different species of trees or plants, look for local wildlife, or plan a route which passes through some interesting local history points. Your kids are bound to be engrossed in their trip and when you settle down for picnic lunches they’ll be raring to go again immediately.
If you live in an area near the beach, engage your kids with a beach combing trip, even in cold weather! Beachcombing is a great way of engaging kids in seaside fun as you search the sandy shore for interesting shells and also take a look in the rock pool for living creatures to watch. You might see crabs, sea snails and anemones and your kids will absolutely love it. Research your local beach areas and see what’s to offer to minimize disappointment. You can equip them all with their own little beachcomber’s outfit, complete with sun hat, bucket for their treasure and packed lunch.
Finding time for you and your kids to truly get to know each other outside the confines of your family home can be difficult. Working full-time and providing for your family is tiring, but you can relax and unwind by spending time in the wonderful natural world seeing your kids inspired and amazed by it.
Daddy time is precious and you want to embrace it while you can because children don’t stay young forever. The great outdoors is a fantastic catalyst for bonding between kids and dads.
Shannon O’Mally was born in the great outdoors and spent the first year of her life being pushed around in a mountain buggy. She knows the importance of fresh air, sunlight and the companionship of a supportive family.