“…it’s when the adventures go beyond just being fun and push us into uncomfortable places that we are offering a great gift to our children. Because out of that discomfort comes all kinds of valuable learning about themselves and the world around them.” –“Adventuring Together” by Greta Eskridge
The word “adventure” can fill us with excitement OR dread! Sometimes a bit of both. Most of us want to instill a love of exploring the world God made in all its complexities, but it may sound overwhelming, especially if you have small, non-stop little ones! Here are 3 simple tips for adventuring with your children that I learned from Greta’s book “Adventuring Together”. I highly recommend grabbing it from Thriftbooks (*I may be compensated in credit for any eligible purchase for the referral*) – they have wonderful prices and you’re helping recycle books!
Tip #1: Adventure doesn’t have to be complicated!
In this season, our homeschool has been shifting towards prioritizing adventure and exploration. Our sit-and-learn time has shrunk – partially due to my attempt to pursue a more restful homeschooling experience – to mainly poetry and Bible verse memorization (essentially, language arts) with a bit of math sprinkled in, and the rest of the time we are exploring. My recent Insta reel displays some of my personal favorite moments of our recent outdoor adventures, but I love the quote there as well – “Adventuring together simply means getting outside the confines of your regular routine.” This reminds me that every day can be filled with a type of adventure that we can experience together.
Taking lunch to a new park.
Inviting friends to the library.
Visiting a bookstore.
Eating at a Greek restaurant.
Or even going into the backyard to plant something in the garden.
Adventuring with your children is what you make it to be! They don’t need to be grand or complicated, lengthy or exhausting, but merely something different and perhaps a bit challenging.
Tip #2: Help share the load
Last week’s camping trip in Bastrop and yesterday’s hike to and from Hamilton Pool gave me some chances to exercise a couple of Greta’s tricks she shares in her book. Nora unsurprisingly asked to be carried about halfway through the hike up to Fehr’s Overlook at the state park, and rather than groaning and denying her request, I told her “Okay I will carry you for a few minutes but then I’ll need a break.” We repeated this process a few times up and down the hillside, and to my surprise it worked wonderfully! Nora enjoyed the hike, wasn’t too overly exhausted, had the satisfaction of making a great accomplishment, AND I didn’t have to carry her the whole time or suffer her whining! Win, win, win, win, win 🏆
Tip #3: Use snacks or treats to motivate (not bribe)
Another tip I found a bit of a slippery slope – I don’t like using treats too often because it can create whinier children when the treats are not around. BUT they can also be powerful motivators. Example: at the end of the day, after swimming in the chilly waters of Hamilton Pool and hiking for over half an hour, we had to ascend the incline back to our car. There was immediate resistance to the notion that both girls should walk back themselves until I fished a package of fruit snacks from the bottom of the diaper bag. What a difference a few gummies can make! Suddenly they were invigorated to climb the entire way by themselves, stopping whenever I called out “fruit snack time!” I was so proud of them both for persevering all the way back to the car.
These little concessions are not giving in to childish demands – at least not always. The manipulative powers of a child are not to be underestimated, after all! However, the love of exploring must also be considered, as Greta encourages us mamas to remember. If carrying a backpack, water bottle or even a child for a distance is what it takes for a hike to go from impossible to exciting…well, it might just be worth it.
Personally I needed those words, and I hope they encourage you in adventuring with your children!
What adventures have you experienced lately? Share with me by commenting below!
Love, Emily XOXO