How to Take a Family Nature Adventure
● By Digital Media Director
How to make it happen?
1. Plan Flexibility. Plan your adventure for a day when you don’t have other commitments, causing your family to be rushed and impatient with one another.
2. Don’t go alone. Children will explore outside their comfort zone, and likely yours, when they have a friend to share the adventure with.
3. Go slow. Hike the trails at the children’s pace or, better yet, set up base camp on a comfy log in the sun and let the children search for bugs, climb trees and build stick forts.
4. Bring Snacks. Healthy, delicious snacks and plenty of water will maintain energy levels to keep your adventure going and are effective solutions to the first round of “Can we go home yet?” chants.
5. Gear up. Rubber boots with a formed fit and lightweight rain gear have proven the most useful. Water, briars and burrs are kept out, mostly.
6. Tell Stories. Talk about your own adventures in nature. If you don’t have any, tell stories about someone you know. If you’re still drawing a blank, make one up or simply wonder aloud with your children, “I wonder what creature made that sound?”. Stories ignite the imagination, which is the essential requirement for enjoying creation.
Where to go near Sioux Falls? Newton Hills State Park (30 min), Good Earth State Park (15 min), Palisades State Park (30 min) and Beaver Creek Nature Area (20 min) are our favorites.
The hardest part? Overcoming our fears: fear of being dirty, fear of being uncomfortable, fear of being hurt, fear of being lost, fear of the unknown.
Why? “Passion is lifted from the earth itself by the muddy hands of the young; it travels along grass-stained sleeves to the heart. If we’re going to save environmentalism and the environment, we must also save an endangered indicator species: the child in nature.” (Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder).