Check out these outdoor essentials to make nature exploring with kids simple and fun! Make memories that will never be forgotten.
I will be the first to admit that nature exploring with kids is hard. It takes a lot of patience, a lot of planning, and a lot of supplies. But I will also be the first to say that you can do it! Whether you are a homeschool mom taking the kids by yourself, or a family going on an adventure together, it can be done. You will make a lot of amazing memories! All it takes is a little bit of planning and prep work beforehand.
Messes are unavoidable when you go nature exploring with kids. Even if it hasn’t rained in forever and there are no mud puddles, your kids will find another way to make a mess. Sand, ashes, berries smashed all over their face, etc. Kids love to explore new textures and colors with their hands. Everything is very sensory and exciting. My biggest tip is to just let them be kids. Let them explore with their hands and be filled with joy at the wonders of God’s creation.
But also, be prepared. That is the best way to relieve any stress that you feel in this situation. Because as an adult, messes can really freak us out!
Outdoor Essentials for Messes
Our family’s number one most used outdoor essential for nature exploring is mud boots (you might call them rain boots or muck boots). These are the perfect shoe for kids to wear on any occasion. In the early spring when it’s still a little too chilly to get in the creek barefoot, we wear our rain boots. When we want to go exploring and it has just rained, we wear our mud boots. When we go to a farm to learn about the animals, we wear our muck boots.
Here are my top two tips to look for when shopping for the perfect boots. First, find a lightweight option. Some mud boots are very heavy which tires kids out more quickly when walking longer distances. Second, look for boots without a liner in them. All rubber on the outside and inside. These will dry out much more quickly when water gets on the inside.
Another outdoor essential you might want to purchase is a rain jacket or rain suit. Personally, we do not purchase them because when it rains here in Tennessee, it is warm enough that it doesn’t matter if our clothes get wet. But if you live somewhere cold and want to be out in the rain, this extra layer is very helpful.
Finally, a super simple way to be prepared is to throw a few old towels in the back of your car. In the season when it is constantly muddy, I will also throw a bag of extra clothes in the car just in case. You never know when you might need them! I always feel better about going places when I am prepared.
Outdoor Essentials for Stamina
When taking kids nature exploring and hiking, food is always a necessity! Even if you don’t plan to go a long way, still bring it. There will always be at least one kid who asks for a snack as soon as you start walking.
Check out these food items that are easy to grab and throw in a backpack for an adventure:
- Protein bars
- Granola bars
Water bottles are another outdoor essential for nature exploring. Our family avoids plastic water bottles because of BPA, but also because the water gets hot in them in the summer. Buying insulated metal water bottles keeps your water cool and avoids toxic chemicals getting in your drinking water.
Keep in mind that the longer of a nature exploration you plan, the more food and water you will need. Many times, we pack a lot of snacks plus lunch boxes to either eat while we are there or in the car on the way home. I love our Bentgo chill lunch boxes! They have an ice pack that goes in between the lunch tray and the outer shell that works great for keeping food cold.
Outdoor Essentials for Practicality
There are a number of outdoor essentials that are super helpful and practical to bring with you when you explore nature. The first one is a first aid kit. Especially with kids, you never know when you will need a band-aid or ointment. Sometimes, they trip and fall on their own two feet with no assistance from nature! I have built a super easy one for our family with all of the basic necessities.
Another outdoor essential is a good insect repellent that actually works AND doesn’t have all of the nasty toxic chemicals in it. I like to make my own because I know all of the ingredients that went into making it. I keep a large bottle at the house and have a travel size one for our adventure pack when we go nature exploring.
Finally, what do you pack all of the stuff in!? When my husband goes with us, he wears my old diaper bag backpack…nothing fancy. But the majority of the time it is just the kids and I going nature exploring, so my older three kids all have their own backpack. I always wear my 2-year-old on my back, so we split up all of our outdoor essentials between the kid’s backpacks to keep the load lightweight for each one.
What is your favorite outdoor activity to do with the kids? Let me know in the COMMENTS.
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