Do you honestly enjoy outdoors with your kids?

Somewhere between parenting magazines, television, mommy blogs and my cousin, I managed to romanticize the great outdoors. On my recent vacation, I vowed that my daughter and I would walk to the park every morning. In my vision, we held hands as we strolled down the street. The birds sang. The sun beamed. Neighbors with cute puppies greeted us along the way.

There were birds but I couldn’t exactly describe what they were doing as singing. The sun beamed, steamed and boiled us half to death. We came across a couple of neighbors and even some cute puppies. There was also a pair of big butt dogs that viciously barked at us.

Truth be told, our outdoor adventure was interesting but it certainly wasn’t fun or magical. My daughter brought me a dead bug. I spent most of my time trying to keep her out of the street, out of the neighbor’s yards, and out of the recycling bins that sit in front of everyone’s house except ours.

When we finally arrived at the park, she didn’t care for most of the equipment. The swings made her cry. She wouldn’t walk across the bridge and actually looked at me with an expression of, “Mommy, have you lost your mind?”

We tried the slide a few times. She kept planting her feet down which stopped her momentum. She still yelled “weee” as if she was headed down the slide at 100 miles per hour. I had to laugh at that.

On the way back home, my daughter wouldn’t let me carry her. She also couldn’t be troubled to walk in the right direction. I pinched myself for not bringing the stroller. At some point I picked my daughter up and jogged home while she of course yelled and flailed her arms. I kept waiting for the cops to show up regarding the child I abducted. If the police had come, they would have found us smelling like puppies, guzzling water and paying tribute to the air conditioner.

I’m sure we will venture outside again, but it’s definitely not something I am putting on my calendar. Maybe it will be more fun when she’s a little older, say 17 years old.

So tell me the truth, do you enjoy going outdoors with your kids? What are your tips for making it safer, less stressful, and more enjoyable?

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About Nicole Robinson

Nicole Robinson is a Dallas-based freelance writer who specializes in college planning, parenting, women’s lifestyle, education, and self-help. But she's always hungry to munch on new topics. In addition to writing for The BookWormMama blog, Nicole provides content, copywriting and proofreading services for various publications.


Do you honestly enjoy outdoors with your kids? — 27 Comments

  1. Alright fine I’ll be the bad guy and say NO I hate the outdoors. Sorry but I do. I sometimes wish I had girls so I could play inside all the time. But no, I have boys and instead I just refuse to go outside with them and make their dad do it. I freaking hate it, there are bugs and heat and moisture and dirt and need I go on? Yuck. Sorry I’m just not an outdoorsy person. End of story.

    Lee recently posted..Mommy And Daddy Skype Night Night To The Boys On Vacation!My Profile

    • Thanks Maryann. I hope I adapt to the outdoors too. Good point. Childbirth is definitely one of those things that gets more rose colored with time.

  2. Saw your comment on Simple Mom and had to pop over and read. My 4 year old acts the same way. It’s so much easier to just let him sit and watch TV. (can’t believe I’m posting this on the internets) We have to PLAY with him. (I know, how selfish of him) hahaha. I want him to play on his own.

    (Feels good to vent, right…) lol
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    • Hi Jessica. Thanks for hopping over from SimpleMom (love that site). Yeah, what’s with these kids wanting all this quality time and interaction? Just kidding. Heck yeah, it’s lovely to vent and I’m glad I’m not alone.

  3. We do go outside – and often enjoy it. We walk to the park, but I push the stroller so that my youngest just rides home. The park we visit is gated, so they just run and play. But, in all honesty, I think they’d rather play in our own backyard with a ball! LOL!

    It gets better, give it time!
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  4. I do like being outside, but it can be stressful sometimes! This past weekend we made a trip to the beach. I grew up on the beach and I was really looking forward to sharing that with my kids. There was a lot of stress involved when they were scared of the ocean and bothered by the sand they kept rubbing in their eyes. So I gave in and headed to the pool, where I spent my time divided between the kiddie pool and the big pool, and a preschooler that kept running despite how many times I said “walk!” However, I have a big sense of adventure. I love to climb, hike, run, etc. right along with my boys, and most of the times I can even sneak in some educational facts. I’m getting better about preparing for being outdoors (water, bug spray, snacks…) and keeping a realistic expectation when we do get out!
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  5. I think it can depend on whether your kids like it or not. My kids adore being outside so I enjoyed it because they were happy and exploring and learning. If they had been miserable, I would have been doubly miserable. I’m not outdoorsy and I’ll never go camping, but outside adventures with them were always fun during daylight.
    Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell recently posted..The Day I Tried To Go VandalMy Profile

    • Thanks Liz. I too doubt that I will ever go camping. I think I would have enjoyed it better if it seemed like she was having a really great time. We’ll get back out there. I’m just not sure how fast I’ll recover.

    • Thanks Jenn. I think you’re right on heading to the pool or an air-conditioned patio. That might explain why we had the park to ourselves every day.

  6. We do not do the whole outdoors thing when it’s SUPER hot unless there is some sort of waterplay involved. I have found that I enjoy the fresh air, playing with the kiddos, not hearing I’m BORED and of course the way they all are ready to crash after a long day of play.
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  7. Yup! That sounds about right! lol When they are younger (and you have only one), it’s really not all that fun. But when they get a a bit older (my kids are 9 and 5), it’s much, much better. Less managing and more playing/being together.

    I’m visiting from the MMM Hop and I’m following you via Twitter, FB, and Pinterest.

    Hope you get a chance to visit us too! Cheers, Renee
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    • Thanks Renee. Baby number two is on the way and I am definitely looking forward to the day they can keep each other company.

      Thanks for all the follows. I am headed to your site.

  8. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the outdoors, but I seriously can’t handle the hot weather. I mistakenly took my daughter on a walk the other day thinking it would be “so awesome!”…Mommy FAIL. I seriously almost passed out on our walk back from the playground and I could tell my daughter wasn’t having it either. We guzzled down some ice cold water when we arrived home. I haven’t been outside for longer than 2 minutes since then!

    I really like your website…I’ve started following your twitter!
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  9. My personal goal is to get my just turned 2 year old outside for a minimum 2-3 hours a day. Many days it happens successfully, sometimes not so much. This includes walks around the neighborhood in a wagon or stroller (with little one walking when requested – yes it makes it slow for me) and playing in the backyard (we have a water table, a sand table and a small slide as well as bubbles, sidewalk chalk and some balls to play with.) We also like to take walks to the various playgrounds in our neighborhood – slides, swings, ramps oh my. Sometimes we do yard work (manual push mowing, raking, weed pulling – all good exercise for me too) and my son has child sized versions of a shovel, broom, rake and snow shovel that he likes to use. Sometimes I sit in the shade with a book while he talks to the neighbor’s dog through the fence. Outside essentials for us include water! and lots of it, snacks (if we’re starting to lag a bit, a cup of sliced strawberries will often tempt him back into the stroller to finish the walk), hat for both of us, and transportation for him if we’re further than the backyard (because he’s heavy to carry very far when little legs get tired.) I do enjoy being outside and I know that outside time is beneficial for both my son and I. He sleeps better, and I feel less grumpy when I regularly get outside. Heat can be difficult to deal with. I grew up in south Texas, but now live in the northwest (we hit 104 last week so it’s hot up here too.) I find that we do better to get outside right after breakfast – generally around 8am and we are back inside by 10am. We go back out in the late afternoon (after 3pm) and early evening before and/or after dinner but before bath time. Afternoons in the summer almost always involve some sort of water play – water table, sprinkler, spraying chalk drawings off the sidewalk, watering the grass/flowers, a large bucket or pitcher of water and cups to pour it back and forth, a big chunk of ice to side around the sidewalk or float in the bucket, playing with the mist setting on the water hose nozzle. There’s lots of ways to make outside fun – it gets a bit easier as they get older but my son has enjoyed being outside from a very young age. Some of my favorite photos of him are of him at about 13-14 months playing with a bowl of mud, the water hose and a kitchen ladle.

  10. I found the whole idea of packing up three children, all their gear, my own gear and actually getting into the car without a meltdown, to be enough of the outdoors for me. If we managed to get to a park or other outdoor venue, there was the worry about the potty training toddler, the hyperactive oldest child, and the nursing baby. I was usually alone during these ‘adventures’ so I was worn out before we did anything!

    Thank goodness we have a great backyard for the kids! My father-in-law gave my children a cedar play structure when we moved in, and they have their own ‘park’ in the backyard! We have trees, plants, dirt for digging and a concrete pad for bike riding and whatnot.

    I definitely preferred staying home when they were younger. Now that my kids are 5, 7, and 12, we can actually go somewhere and I don’t have to necessarily engage, know what I mean?
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