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Optional—Make an Adventure Jar: We've even made an adventure jar in which we can put ideas for trails, parks, challenges and experiences we'd like to try. When we hear about a new adventure, we can add it! If we're stuck for ideas, we can pick out of the jar!
Step 2: Find a trail. Pick a trail that has the level of difficulty and distance that works for your team. If you're not sure what your kids can handle, start small and know you can always repeat the trail if you find kids still want to keep hiking!
- Tip: We love using the AllTrails app (apple | google). The app is free, and it makes it fun and easy to find, select and follow trails—both big and small—wherever you are!
- Tip: It can be hard to understand the accessibility required for the trails listed on websites and apps. Visit www.accessiblenature.info to find the difficulty, length and accessibility needed for various hikes. And, we love this quick reel about why accessibility is so important from @mightymissmaya.
- Tip: Make our own trail mix bar! We love to give each member of our family their own reusable trail mix container for the adventure. Then, we line up whatever trail mix ingredients we've got (we love to buy in bulk!), like nuts, dried fruits, chocolate chips, pretzels, dried cereal, etc. Each person can fill up their container with the ingredients they like best (as long as it's not ALL chocolate chips!). We got this tip and our steel containers from our friends a EcoLunchbox, and we love it!
- Tip: Want all kinds of tips about which winter gear items Tinkergarten families and Leaders love, what layers to wear and even how to get wiggly kids into their winter gear, and more? Check out our Guide to Winter 2022 at tinkergarten.com/winter.
Step 5: Make it special. As you head out, let kids know that this is no ordinary day—it's a Family Adventure! You and thousands of other people are out today, walking to welcome the new year. How exciting!
Step 6: Enjoy the adventure! Here are a few of our favorite ways to make adventures with kids extra sweet:
- Bring friends. Friends, both the two and four-legged kinds, help sweeten the mix with kids, adding good energy and playmates to keep kids engaged socially as they enjoy all of the benefits of being outdoors. Plus, when you invite friends, you get even more people you love out in nature—hurrah!
- Take sensory breaks. Every so often, stop and close your eyes. Wonder what you smell, hear or feel. Our kids love these chances to “see with our other senses,” and it supports their sensory development, too (win-win).
- Encourage (and manage) collections: Collecting is marvelous for kids, and it can make time outdoors fun and engaging. But kids and parents can get weighed down with so many treasures. To keep this manageable and teach kids not to remove too much from the trail, identify a small bucket, bag or container for collecting. Then, the rule is, you can stop to observe and love any object, but you can only tote along what fits in the container at any given time.
- Include a tea party: Winter adventures can be chilly, so it can help to warm yourselves from the inside in addition to get warm as you move. Plus, who doesn't love a tea party in the forest?! Warm up some herbal tea or hot cocoa, fill up thermos, grab some small mugs and include a sweet sip as part of your experience. Get more tips on how to enjoy a winter tea party here.
- Add some pretending: If you like, add in some pretend play. Become your favorite creatures. Freeze and play tree. Or pretend to be whomever or whatever you like!
- End with gratitude: At the end of your adventure, stop to share what made you most grateful today. Even if someone was pushed into a prickly pear, you can still end on a high note of shared thanks for the endless gifts nature provides.
Why is this activity great for kids?
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