Alyssa Erickson from KidProject.org joins us today on Trailblazer Tuesday and talks with us about adventuring in the outdoors with kids.
Alyssa Erickson is a Jesus lover, wife, mom, rock climber, skier, and all around adventure lover with a passion for writing. She has a B.A. in English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Colorado and has been blogging for nearly two years.
Hello Alyssa! So glad you stopped by today. Do you camp? Yes, we love camping, but our definition has changed with the number of kids we have. In college we were into backpacking, only car camping when it was necessary. Well, after kid one came along car camping seemed hard enough and after kid two and three, car camping seemed epic. We just got a 1964 camper trailer and are working to fix it up. We are hoping our break into the “camper” world will mean we get out more often and for longer durations of time.
What is your other favorite outdoor activity? We are avid rock climbers and skiers. In fact, climbing is often what drives our camping.
How long have been camping? Oh since I was a baby. We have pictures of me backpacking with my parents when I was 3 or 4 and carrying my own small backpack. I spent every weekend of my childhood summers camping at some lake while we windsurfed and water skied.
With whom do you share your love of the outdoors? My husband and I love being active and getting out in beautiful locations doing things we love. It energizes us, helps us keep perspective. It reminds us who created it all and helps us enjoy life. So naturally we are figuring out what it means to bring our small kids into it with us. Sometimes we fail. Sometimes we succeed. But the successes are worth it.
We also have an awesome group of friends that love to camp and rock climb. We all work together watching the kids, keeping them safe, and climbing together. Without them it would be near impossible to get out climbing WITH young kids.
Describe your best, worst or most memorable camping trip. The trip that first comes to mind was a backpacking trip in the Canyonlands when we were in college. Chris and I were only friends, backpacking with a whole group of people. Long story short- the trip became epic when we ran out of water and the source we were planning on was dried up. But we learned a lot of lessons about backpacking in the desert. And it all turned out alright.
As for post-kid camping trips that flopped: One of our first trips when our oldest daughter was 2 years old. At 2 am she got out of her sleeping bag, promptly announced that she was “all done camping” and headed for the door. We had a crying, hysterical toddler on our hands when explained that it didn’t work like that…That we weren’t going home in the middle of the night. That was a long night. But if you are going to try camping with young kids, you will pay your dues at times.
I love your honesty. So many bloggers seem to portray their kids and families as picture perfect at all times (really??). Speaking of kids, do you mind sharing some tips with our readers on getting kids involved in the outdoors? Adventuring in the outdoors with kids is not very forgiving. Maybe because kids are sort of fickle…they change their minds so fast and they are so easily influenced by their circumstances. That is why SO many parents just avoid the outdoors till their kids are older. It is hard work staying active. But it is possible. And so fun and rewarding once you are there!
So if you want the kids to love the outdoors, work hard to make it lovable. This might sound easy but it isn’t. It takes forethought and A LOT of trial-and-error.
- Invest in good gear. It is hard, but learn to find the deals. REI garage sales, backcountry.com, and other outlets have been invaluable to us as we try to keep a budget. But a cold, wet kid, means a kid that will eventually hate outdooradventures.
- Bring lots of good snacks and toys to make it more fun.
- And this is the most important- if you want your kids to love the outdoors, and if you want to make it fun, then parents need to watch their attitudes closely. We’ve all seen those parents, (and been them) that are rushing around the house, barking orders to get packed and shoes on, gear ready, lunched packed. We are stressed by the immense hassle of getting out the door. We become harsh with our words. These things will frustrate our children, and eventually we lose their hearts. Adventures won’t be fun to them if all they experience is a stressed out Mom and Dad. So ease up on your expectations, don’t make it about “you” and your needs. Learn to let go, adapt and overcome.
Excellent advice for parents. Sometimes it is hard to keep from getting stressed and taking all the fun out of an activity, without even stopping to realize you are doing exactly that. It has been wonderful talking with you today, Alyssa. Before you go, it is time for out Silly Question Sendoff.
Today’s Silly Question Sendoff: What is something funny your kids have said? Our 3 year old boy came up to me yesterday and said, “I’ve been thinking Mom, and girls are girls cause they like to sing and dance. Boys just like to kill things.” Deep thoughts from a little boy who is very into “killing the bad guys.”
That is precious! It sounds like he put a lot of thought into that. Now it is time for you, our readers, to answer the Silly Question Sendoff. And then head on over to kidproject.org and give Alyssa a virtual high five, in the form of a comment
I’ll see ya by the campfire.
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