We can’t expect our kids to be awesome outdoor adventurers if we’re not set up to at least pretend we love it too. And we all know that our kids do what we do and not what we say, right.. (check out my snow holing post to see just how far I’ve taken this philosophy!)
Want to know how to be the best outdoor parent in the wild?
These 5 items will simplify your outdoor excursions, your kids will love you and you might feel like the most awesome wild parent ever!
- Wellies (with fleece welly liners in winter)
- An easy-access backpack
- A slow cooker
- Drinks and snacks
1. Before you leave home: –
Slow Cooker Solution
If you’re dragging the kids out for an hour or six, a slow cooker removes the rush back to cook. Bung in the ingredients before you leave, press start and forget about food until teatime. For chillies and bolognaise the meat doesn’t even need to be pre-cooked so long as it’s fully defrosted.
Returning home to mouth watering smells after an energetic outing, with hot nutritious food on the table before you’ve had time to dry the dog is the perfect finish to any day in the wild.
My slow cooker was the greatest game changer in my quest for more outdoors.
– Don’t spend much, mine cost round £25, but DO get a ceramic crock pot type for it’s versatility, and DO get a large one, at least 3 litres for family meals.
– Plan ahead to have the ingredients ready before you head out of the house
2. Get involved: –
For more reticent outdoor children, what better way to show them that puddles are fun than with a wild parent modelling that behaviour?A pair of great British wellies can be your greatest ally in the battle for wilderness wandering. Not for the kids, they obviously have wellies; for you! Mine go everywhere with me.
Get some wellies today, the brighter the better – why should the kids have the fun designs? My favourites were rainbow-striped though this year’s are green.
– Given the amount of wild we do, my wellies rarely last a year so I buy cheap ones. Once holey they make fun plant containers. Read how to make recycled welly plant pots here. That said, I’m currently reviewing some more expensive boots so watch this space..
– Fleece welly liners are a must in winter, they go on our Christmas lists every couple of years!
– Wellies work all year round in the UK but give your feet a break with lots of barefoot time in summer.
3. Before they get hungry: –
Drinks and Snacks
End all whingeing, whining, energy bonking and grumbling of stomachs by keeping tiny tummies full. None of this ‘wait until tea’ malarkey of our own childhoods.
We can get hypoglycemic in a third of the time outdoors, children even quicker says Ray Mears in this article (so it must be true!). Take drinks and snacks everywhere.
Also take a plastic-free drink bottle for water and use tooth-friendly snacks: –
- nuts and raisins
- sushi nori seaweed slices
- trail mix
- sliced fruit and veggies (cucumber, courgette, carrot, cherry tomatoes, grapes, apple etc)
– Use super-lightweight Eco snack wraps instead of sandwich boxes. They double as plates, napkins and take up little room in the backpack once food is eaten.
– To save weight, leave flasks of hot chocolate and soup at the car for reviving rations at the end of a trip and try a compact and lightweight Pacmat picnic rug.
– Stash some secret emergency chocolate for meltdown moments, real emergencies or Wild Mummy necessity!
4. Mummy can I have a…..
A lightweight backpack is a must for me even if it’s just for a trip to the swings, always containing spare clothes, drinks, snacks, teddy, waterproofs and wipes. You don’t need to spend much unless you’re doing full on hiking.
– Choose a waterproof backpack with external side pockets that fit a drinking bottle and mesh or straps at the back for teddy!
– With toddlers, for whom you may stop frequently, a more rigid pack that stands up on it’s own is really useful so you can deal with them without the pack contents rolling off down the hill
– To save weight pack food in plastic-free Eco wraps. They also make pouches, great for trail mix etc.
5. No bad weather only wrong clothing
Kit For Kids
Wet weather doesn’t need to mean no outdoors, and children’s waterproof outdoor gear doesn’t need to be expensive. Basic waterproof trousers and coat make outdoor life a pleasure not a pain.
– ALWAYS take a change of clothes for your wild kids. They can’t be wild and crazy without getting wet and dirty so anticipate the inevitable with a full change of warm clothes. Even in summer. Honestly.
– Kids grow quickly so use hand me downs from siblings or friends or charity shops to save money.
What To Buy
Here are some purchase ideas to help you become the best wild parent ever! Just click on the pictures for links to Amazon.
Welcome to the Wild and congratulations on taking the first steps to becoming a really cool Parent of the Wild!