Childhood has become domesticated, and it’s hurting our kids. For many children today, smartphones have replaced nature hikes and outdoor exploration. Yet, according to Outside, “Our changing culture has knocked away the scaffolding that used to provide formative and enriching adventures.” That’s why it’s paramount that we bring back childhood adventures.
So, how do we put the adventure back into childhood?
Instead of genuine adventure seeking and risk taking, kids feel overbooked, underactive, and increasingly afraid to get out there and explore. One of the ways we can help our children gain confidence exploring the world is by supplying them with a hefty dose of wilderness-based activities.
But how do you get kids interested in heading outdoors to discover new things? Start with periodic technology fasts. When kids get unplugged, they have fewer reasons to stay indoors. Before you know it, they’ll start exploring the world on their own.
Without phones, games, and televisions to keep them busy, kids will find themselves partaking in unstructured play. They’ll get more comfortable in nature and capable of handling outdoor adventures. They’ll also grow spiritually, emotionally, and mentally while spending more time outside. They’ll cultivate a greater sense of self as they find quiet time to themselves, too.
Make visiting local and national parks a regular part of your routine. Go hiking and exploring. Let your children climb and discover, play in the dirt, and skip rocks on the water. Let them bask in free play far removed from electronics and cell phone signals.
Head out first thing in the morning to up your family’s chances of observing wildlife. There’s nothing more exhilarating to kids (and adults!) than catching glimpses of elk or a band of deer grazing in a field.
Pay attention to bird calls and other creatures, too. Whether you’re in Death Valley scoping out road runners or Yellowstone checking out buffalo herds, there’s nothing like seeing animals in their natural habitat. It lets your kids go wild while learning about the environment and the animals it supports.
Childhood used to be filled with important milestones and coming of age rituals. From taking on more chores on the farm to a kid’s first fishing trip or hunt, these steps along the journey to adulthood filled kids with confidence and pride.
Today’s world has become less conducive to increasing children’s responsibilities as they grow. Instead, many get stuck in a kind of lonely limbo fueled by video games and electronics. Kids feel frustrated about their lack of progress through a clear system of steps to adulthood. But some also feel too afraid or ill-equipped to get out there and blaze the trail to maturity for themselves.
By creating milestones, you provide opportunities for your kids to challenge themselves and grow. According to Michael Chabon, “Childhood is, or has been, or ought to be, the great original adventure, a tale of privation, courage, constant vigilance, danger, and sometimes calamity.” Put another way, kids need to get outside and start exploring. They need their own outdoor adventures.
Interested in fun ways to get your kids outdoors exploring the world? From snorkeling with sea lions to swimming in the Amazon, we’ve got the family adventures your kids need to put the wilderness back in childhood.
At Our Whole Village, we create tours carefully designed for families who want to create lasting memories while making a difference. We’re here to help you and your family experience the world, its people, and its cultures. Contact us today to learn more about the unforgettable experiences that we handcraft for families just like yours.