The Family Guide to the Great Outdoors


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Give kids water and they'll find ways to play with it. Invite the neighborhood kids over for a water party. Set up the sprinkler and cut up a watermelon. Bring flashlights for fun and safety, but be sure to turn them off for listening to the nature sounds and star gazing. If you have a safe place for a campfire, don't miss the opportunity to sit outside telling stories of when you were a kid, or what your kids did when they were younger. Sing songs. Roast marshmallows, make s'mores.

Don't forget to just relax in silence and watch the fire. Do you have a little pyromaniac who wants to build the fire? This is the perfect opportunity to teach safety and let your child wield the matches. These are the memories your children will treasure as they get older. And every child deserves the connection nature provides to the essence of life.

You're feeding your child's soul as well as her body. There are a ton of ideas for kids' outdoor play, both with and without parents, on my Pinterest Outdoor Play board. He says it all much more eloquently than I can, and offers you the studies to prove it. Thank YOU so much for your encouraging emails and Facebook posts!!!

Since I began this process, I have noticed a difference in the compassion I show to myself, and how much more that helps me connect with my kids. We are all feeling a lot more overall peace. It is such high quality material, and you go into enough detail to be really helpful. You've helped me so much in my parenting. It works. And the more rest I get, the more patience I have.

It makes a difference. Laura's advice on empathizing with your child definitely dissipates the conflict. It really, really works. Try for one day, then just one more day. Parenting helps you create a more peaceful home - and happy, responsible, considerate kids! Learn more about the Aha!


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Parenting philosophy and Dr. Laura Markham. All rights reserved. Privacy Disclaimer Site by Enginate. My Account. Toggle navigation. Free weekly inspiration in your inbox Dr. Laura's Parenting Tips. Yes I Want This Support! Learn More. Tweets by DrLauraMarkham. November 15, Parent Connection Summit. January 30, Bowery Babes.

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March 28, Playhouse Cooperative Preschool and Kindergarten. Parenting Tips in Your In Box. Does this Kind of Parenting Work? Michael, I would have loved this advice when my kids were younger but we learned through experience. We now know that my daughter 12 will complain mightily for the first mile of a backpack trip, then proceed to pull us up every hill afterwards! We have had a lot of great trips in the Sierras with them and they both love the outdoors. I have to agree my children were and still are outside people.

They were raised in the North. Snow days were filled with sliding down a snowy hill, ice skating in the pond and ski-doos in the woods.

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Spring was the exploration of an awakening forest, summer swimming was a must in the nearest lake and ocean and fall was hiking and picking apples and pumpkins. My youngest loves the outdoors so much became a geologist for a career. My daughter has carried on the tradition to the grandchildren.

Very happy and calm children. Excellent article, so many good ideas and great methodology. We have a second child coming soon adopting and we already have an eight year old who loves the outdoors, but I am definitely going to implement some new tricks this time around. Great advice! Seems to be the way my parents raised me, but even I sometimes find it a struggle these days to raise my own kids this same way.

Thanks for reinforcing the values I so believe in. Thanks Dean. Hi Michael, Love your blog and this post in particular. Nice to find a kindred spirit :. Hi guys — so many of you have wonderful stories!

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I love hiking and grew up doing a lot — nothing super-difficult, but plenty of weekend hikes, canoeing and sailing — as did my husband. I visited some local bushwalking groups a few years ago and was frightened off by how intense and hard-core they were — I doubt I could keep up on my own, let alone with a littlie! Christina, have you tried having a hear-to-heart conversation with your partner about how important this is to you?

Hello, great story, love the tips. My only question is in the first photo you said it was taken in Skillern Hot Springs, Smoky Mountains, Idaho, but I know the smokey mountains are in Tennessee.


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  4. Could you please clarify where this photo was taken? Hi Megan, there are Smoky Mountains in central Idaho, too. Not as well known, but very pretty. They are west and north of the Sun Valley and Ketchum area. Followed the same ideas with my kids. Just two added thoughts. Make sure they have a good time on those first adventures, even if you have to change plans. I have seen several kids whose parents took them out one time, turned out bad and they ended up giving up because the kid had such a bad experience.

    I start out small and sure-fire successful, especially on river trips where they can get scared,splashed,surprised, then build up from there. Michael, would you mind telling us about the special camera lense you used for capturing these incredible photos?

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    Susan, I shoot with a Nikon D09 and two lenses: a Nikkor zoom and a Sigma ultrawide zoom. I consider both indispensable, but I use the mm zoom more and more because I love the perspective and depth it lends to scenic and action photos. Great tips, ideas, and fantastic trips Michael!

    Before you go, be sure to calibrate your compass for the declination at the location where you will be hiking. Now at age 5, he is very good with a map and knowing where he is; on the trail or in the city because he pays attention to the position of the sun and to landmarks to know direction. Day-hikes can be the most dangerous because hikers usually carry minimal supplies never expecting to spend the night outdoors.

    Would you know how to get rescued if the unexpected happened on the trail? The ability to know your way and know where you are is something we all need in any survival situation not just while hiking.

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    Learn to stay found by using a compass and paying attention to your surroundings. Anyone wanting to feel more confident about orienting ourselves outdoors will enjoy learning from this book. Thanks for the positive spin on what can be a real challenge for families. Our family took a big step this year in selling our very nice camper and committing to more backpacking.

    Our teenagers were more engaged, shared in tasks and pleasant to hang out with on backpacking and car camping trips than when we brought our camper. I think we underestimated what they were able and willing to do!

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    Thanks so much for the tips! Our boys are 1.

    This makes me very happy — I will certainly share! Great stuff.

    The Family Guide to the Great Outdoors The Family Guide to the Great Outdoors
    The Family Guide to the Great Outdoors The Family Guide to the Great Outdoors
    The Family Guide to the Great Outdoors The Family Guide to the Great Outdoors
    The Family Guide to the Great Outdoors The Family Guide to the Great Outdoors
    The Family Guide to the Great Outdoors The Family Guide to the Great Outdoors
    The Family Guide to the Great Outdoors The Family Guide to the Great Outdoors
    The Family Guide to the Great Outdoors The Family Guide to the Great Outdoors
    The Family Guide to the Great Outdoors The Family Guide to the Great Outdoors
    The Family Guide to the Great Outdoors

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