How to Get Your Family Outside


I was thinking about the past the other day and how I would not “get outside” with the kids because I was burdened down with EVERYTHING. I had no time for getting outside. I was running here and there, cleaning this and that and generally overwhelmed. What mom of 8 wouldn’t be, right?

Well now, here we are planning a hiking adventure and trying get more fit so we don’t die from exhaustion while doing it. What has changed? NOTHING! I still feel as busy as ever even with 3 adult children living on their own now. But what has changed is my thinking. The kids growing “in a blink of an eye” may have something to do with it. And so I’ve realized that life is to short to wait until I have time. I’ll never have time! I have to carve out time to do what I love.

Remember the 3 “p’s”… Priority, Preparation, Planning.


1.Schedule the time. (Priority)

If time is impeding you from getting outside, schedule a time. I’ve attached a picture of my week and you’ll see the slots scheduled. Check the weather at the beginning of the week to see the best time to put your hike in. If you don’t “put it on the calendar”, it probably won’t happen!

But what if the weather turns? Yesterday our scheduled hike got cancelled because of the rain so we took it to the local YMCA. Life’s not over if weather stops you. You can head to an inside location to get it done. Keep the scheduled time slot!

Central Ohio peeps here is a great list of places we choose to hit. (We take umbrellas and do building dashes!)


2. Prepare in advance. (Preparation)

If your like me, half the battle getting out the door is making sure the kids have all the gear they need. Have you ever been down the road and one of the kids tells you they have no shoes on? It’s not fun, let me tell you.

Here’s some of the basic gear to have: hiking shoes, coats/jackets, hiking socks, gloves, hats, base layer, water bottles

Lets do the math for my family, 7 sets of everything! That’s 77 individual items just to go on one hike! Thinking about trying to gather all of that is almost enough to make me give up before I start.

THE SOLUTION: I keep all hiking gear in one location, washed and ready to go. Each child is responsible to return the hiking items to me after the hike and I have a location where I keep everything matched and ready. What used to take hours to do now takes just minutes because it is all together. It makes my blood pressure lower and the hiking more enjoyable.

For families with infants/toddlers, get a hiking backpack child carrier. Trust me, you want to get a good one. When our kids were little we purchased one from REI. It was well worth the money first of all it was so comfortable. It had adjustments everywhere and padding where you needed it. Also, it had all the little compartments you needed to store snacks, diapers, wipes and everything else.


3. Know your park systems. (Planning)

Local Hikes: There are many great parks in the Columbus area. Columbus Metro Parks have some amazing gems that are waiting for your family to use! They even have winter hike schedules and are great ways to meet other families getting outside. Sometime they even have a warm drinks or more after the winter hike. What a great experience!

Here are some central Ohio website links: (Columbus area) (Delaware County area)

State Parks: Once you’ve gotten comfortable with your local parks you may want to branch out to your state parks. You can check your state parks out online and see which one might be right for your family. We have found some state parks have lodges, cabins, and restaurants where you can relax and regroup after a day hike.

Link to Ohio State Parks

National Parks: We are love our National Parks. There are many locations throughout the United States. Grab your computer and a cup of coffee when you sit down to start your planning. The website is not 100% user friendly, but as you learn to navigate it you will find an amazing amount of information. There are videos, articles, live web cameras, and information about every park. For us, Cuyahoga National Park is about the closest and is a couple hours away by car.

National Park website link

4. Don’t give up

What if you keep trying and you keep failing? It’s ok. Only you know you’ve been unable to keep your hiking date. Reschedule your hike at your earliest convenience and go for it!

Hopefully, as you begin experiencing the great outdoors you’ll continue to feel the draw to get out and enjoy this great creation!

Happy Hiking!

Matt and Brandy

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