Living an active lifestyle with young kids is unpredictable, out there, and messy. As well as, spontaneous, inspiring, and beautiful. There are three simple things that we do, to keep it real and to keep on rolling:
I never leave home without snacks. Copious amounts of food and water, really. The reason behind this is that my kids are constantly growing and active, so they eat! We don’t ascribe to the more French philosophy as outlined in Bringing up Bébé; rather, we have food on hand and at the ready almost always. In the worst case scenario, there’s usually something in the snack bag that can convince a kid back on the bike or into the Chariot to hightail it home, lickety-split!
Our snack bag usually has kleen kanteens, a container of snackin’ veg (eg. cucumber spears, carrot sticks, fresh peas), hydrating fruit (eg. watermelon, apples, berries), hopefully a protein (eg. cheese slices, salami, roasted chickpeas), sometimes a delicious home baked good or some salty seaweed snacks, I love to keep a few fruit leathers kicking around or make some homemade gummies, and on a good day the kids will rejoice over a fruit squeeze pouch.
I try very hard to reduce the amount of garbage that we produce, preferring to make homemade items or, at the very least, make sure that the packaging is reusable for kid art projects or recyclable. In the summertime, with all of the fresh produce available, I find snacks very easy to throw together, but we are also out and about even more than usual so I sometimes throw in cheater mini-yogourt drinks or cheese strings – both full-on treats in our house which make the kids go gaga (and help to save my sanity a little bit because they are so easy).
These days, our snack bag itself is one I got on sale at IKEA recently and it works like a charm.
We are Canadian and Canadians like to talk about weather, right? Especially Calgarians. A good ol’ Canadian adage is “There’s no bad weather, only bad clothes.”
In the winter that means, extra layers for all. In the summer, it means sun hats, sun glasses, long sleeves for sun protection, and often a warmer layer because weather can change suddenly where we live. And, often a rain layer or a way to stay dry, like the Chariot bubble or Blaqpaks cover on the bakfiets, because we get sudden thunderstorms, too.
We tend to buy most of our gear at Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC). Fleeces, “newt suits“, Outdoor Research Rambler Sombrero hats, and sunglasses are our current go-to’s. We also love Wee Woolies and we all live in our KEEN sandals for the summer as they work as either sandals or rain boots, great for mucking about on the trail or at the river’s edge!
Permitting the dog walk to turn into a 2 hour ramble in the park. Staying at the playground for a little bit longer. Taking the long way home on the bike. Or, reading temperaments and heading home as soon as possible! Rolling with the punches, so to speak. Either way you cut it, we have to be flexible in order to keep our day going and not get hung up on the changes we encounter – instead, I try to embrace them, as much as humanly possible.
These three tricks help to keep us going and seize as many days as possible! It isn’t always a pretty site, like when someone needs their nap and is screaming on the back of the longtail – but, hey, she’d be doing that in the car seat, anyway, and I find it way easier to bike with a screaming kid than drive.
Get out there and enjoy the unpredictableness of it all and share your adventures, little or big, with us!
What are your tricks and tips to help other families get outside?
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