If you're an outdoor person, chances are you are raising an outdoor child too! If you're not an outdoorsy person, raising children is the perfect excuse to give it a shot! Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods and The Nature Principle, and co-founder of the Children & Nature Network said it best, "Time in nature is not leisure time; it's an essential investment in our children's health (and also, by the way, in our own)." So go on, what do you have to loose? You may even enjoy a laugh or two!
They will undoubtedly pee outside and you'll probably be OK with that, maybe even encourage it, sometimes you have no choice, right? Just make sure your outdoor child knows the difference between peeing behind a tree in the woods and peeing behind the only tiny tree in the Target parking lot. Trust me, you'll save yourself a lot of interesting moments down the road.
They'll probably poop outside, too! It's all well and good until your unsuspecting child wipes with a poison ivy leaf. Bring a roll of toilet paper on your adventures and make sure your child can identify poisonous leaves, you know, just in case.
Speaking of poop, when they gotta go, they gotta go! Unfortunately, the most opportune places aren't always available. You can't go wrong with having poop bags on hand- the ones for dogs work great! A potty chair in the back of the car pairs nicely with the poop bags, too! Leave no trace.
There's a 100% chance they will get wet! An outdoor child can find even the tiniest puddle and will always 'accidentally on purpose' find their way into it. A change of clothes is not optional.
They will collect ALL the things! An outdoor child can't resist collecting all of nature's treasures; acorns, rocks, sticks, oh my! Bring a collection bag and save yourself from being the carry-all. I don't have to tell you what will happen if you loose one of their precious treasures do I?
There's always a chance they could get hurt! Outdoor children are comfortable taking more risks, but it doesn't always come without injury. A thorny briar bush is every outdoor child's nemesis. No one wants their adventure to be cut short because "I need a band-aid," is all your child can say after getting a teeny-tiny scrape on the leg. But, seriously, a first aid kit is always a good idea!
Finding dead creatures & bones will intrigue them! Chances are this isn't an indication your child is on their way to becoming a psychopath. It is however, a learning opportunity about life cycles, ecosystems, and Mother Nature.
They will dawdle! Outdoor children are trailblazers. They stop, wander, explore, and investigate everything they see. Don't rush them, but remember, a twenty minute walk is easily doubled by our little dawdlers.
Here's to raising outdoor kid's; the wild ones, the adventurers, the risk takers, and the dawdlers. May your patience & sense of humor be strong, may your laundry detergent be stronger!