Even when we have the best of intentions, getting quality time outside with our kids can be a challenge. I figure we all need a little inspiration, and some fresh ideas to carry on when the going gets tough, and you just feel like staying inside.
To help with motivation, each month I’m featuring a collection of families, and the unique activities that they engage in. Weather and circumstances may differ, but my hope is that you’ll gain a new spark of enthusiasm! You also might be able to brainstorm some ideas of your own to go explore the outdoors with your family.
This month, I reached out to families on instagram who were doing notable things, and asked them share where they live, the unique activity that gets them outside, what inspires them to get outdoors with their children, and a photo.
Families Get Outside in December
Rock Climbing: Erica from Cragmama
I’m Erica, aka Cragmama. My favorite adventure buddies are my husband and two kiddos – ages 7 and 3. We are from North Carolina, and because the weather has been unseasonably warm for the first part of December, we’ve been enjoying the activity we love every other part of the year as well – rock climbing! Getting outdoors as a family helps us disconnect from busy-ness and enjoy connecting together. The memories we make are priceless!
Bicycling (in the snow!): Katrina, aka Katrina the Explorer
I live in Canmore, Alberta, Canada and am a dedicated outdoor enthusiast. I share my passion for the wilderness as a cycling guide and hiking guide. When I’m not roaming through the mountains for work, I am often with my husband, Mike, and convincing my four-year-old son, Zion, that it is perfectly normal to bike or backpack through the wilderness in the middle of the winter. And our son loves it.
We are able to commute by bike, and also go on little adventures. We keep his feet and hands warm with extra booties and warm handlebar pogies. Together, we play I spy on my little eye, sing lots of songs, and slide down on our bums when the trail is too steep. When our little boy is tuckered out, I can be found curled up by the fire, with a cup of coffee, studying maps.
Beach Exploration: Amy from Very Much So Blog
I’m Amy, I live in Bath UK with my husband and two young daughters and write an outdoors lifestyle blog. As a family we love getting outdoors as we’re all much happier when we’re outside. Parenting always seems easier as well and I love how a simple trip out becomes a grand adventure in my daughters’ minds.
We try not to let the cold weather keep us inside and one of our favourite things to do in December is wrap up warm, put on our wellies and explore the beach. It’s often deserted, feels like a completely different place to the beach in summer months, and is really invigorating. My girls love hunting for shells and splashing in puddles whilst I love taking photos as the low winter sun and the beach is a perfect combination.
Ice Skating: Tanya from Family Adventures in the Canadian Rockies
My name is Tanya and I live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. We love ice skating in November – December because we have a very short window to enjoy “skating season.” We love real “wild mountain skating” where the ice is frozen, snow free, and natural (nobody clearing or maintaining it.) We only have a short period where lakes freeze before becoming snow covered and when we get this window, we drop everything to skate as much as we can till it snows. My son is 8, and loves skating as much as I do. It’s our special activity and we skated three different lakes this weekend.
Eco-Friendly Christmas Tree: Andrea and Paul from Topsy Turvy Tribe
Hi we are Andrea and Paul, originally from the UK we now live in Penamacor in Central Portugal with our two boys, Chaos aged 4 and Mayhem aged 3. Mayhem had a major operation to remove a tumour as a baby, which totally made us rethink our priorities and seek out a simpler life. We blog about our ex-pat adventures, travel in Spain and Portugal and outdoor family fun. We love reaping the rewards of a healthy outdoor lifestyle, discovering what wonderful things nature has to offer and spending quality time together as a family.
We used to spend a fortune each year on a Christmas tree, in the UK. This year we wanted to make our own eco-friendly alternative. Using wood, eucalyptus bark, fallen pine branches and cones we made our own tree! We decorated the tree with our homemade decorations and ones we have collected over the years. We think the end result looks pretty great and hope you do too!
Audubon Christmas Bird Count: Nichole
We are from southwest Arkansas, and are hiking and outside all the time in the Ouachita National Forest. My husband and I have been married for ten years, and have always loved backpacking and hiking. I homeschool my two children, age 6 and 3. Nature and the outdoors are a major part of our homeschooling and our life. We believe in the transformative power or experiences in nature, how it can build tenacity, strength of body and mind, and a certain resilience and self reliance.
This December we have gone fishing several times at home, and spotted a 10 foot alligator on our last trip! Our biggest adventure will be participating in the Christmas Bird Count as we travel to visit family in the Chicago area. Every year the Audubon society does a count leading up to Christmas, where citizen scientists can participate and report to designated sites what they have seen. There is a page on Audubon Society website where you can look up participating sites, and if there is not one near you, they also have the Backyard Bird Count.
Fairy Houses: Moriah from New Found Traditions
My name is Moriah and my family lives in Wisconsin. As I child I spent the long, cold Wisconsin winters outside as much as possible, either sledding, fort building, or ice fishing. Now that I have children of my own, I want the same experiences for them. I love to sled and play right along side my 5 year old daughter and 3 yr old son. But once the excitement of snowballs and sledding subsides, it’s fun to play with the imagination and we start to build with winter’s gifts.
The great thing about fairy houses is that they can be built anywhere during any type of weather. Winter can make fairy houses glimmer and shine with sunlight and ice. I like to look for thin sheets of ice found near edges of lakes or even playground equipment. Then our family starts the building process of combining ice, pinecones, tree branches, berries, or anything else found on the ground.
The magic of fairy houses is found in using only items from nature (nothing man-made). If the weather is super cold, we add a little water to help freeze and solidify everything together. Before we realize it, we have soon spent a couple hours outside. We can visit the fairy house any day throughout the winter, and therefor giving us more motivation to get outside.
Natural Garlands: Josée from Backwoods Mama
I’m a writer, photographer and mom of three children that lives in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, Canada. I’m passionate about discovering nature with my family and love to encourage other families to do the same. This December my family is excited to celebrate Winter Solstice (December 21st). Celebrating the seasons is a wonderful way to inspire your family to get outside, discovery new places and try new things.
One of our favourite Winter Solstice activities is making popcorn and cranberry garlands. For this fun project, pop a bowl of popcorn, gather some cranberries, a few needles and thread. Set everything outside and let the garland making begin. Hang the finished garlands from trees for the critters to enjoy. For more fun ways to celebrate the Winter Solstice visit my recent blog post: 7 Wonderful Ways to Celebrate Winter Solstice with Kids.
A very special thank you to all the families who participated in this month’s edition of Families Get Outside! Make sure to click through to their blogs and instagram pages for more amazing inspiration!
Looking for more this month? Check out our Winter Scavenger Hunt or try one of our nature-based projects!
How are you getting outside this December? We’d love to hear about your favorite ways to explore the outdoors with your family!
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