Keeping Your Kids Entertained During Outdoor Trips: Using Pre-Made Templates for Fun on the Go
Outdoor trips can be some of the most memorable experiences for families. Not only is spending time in nature good for a child’s physical health since it encourages physical activity and gives them fresh air, it’s also educational, enhances cognitive development, and can reduce their stress and anxiety.
While outdoor trips can provide numerous benefits for kids, whether they include overnight camping or day hikes, every parent knows the challenge of keeping children entertained during down times such as driving in the car to reach a campsite or while spending time in the tent after the sun goes down.
How do you keep your kids engaged without resorting to the use of electronic devices while embracing the outdoors? The answer lies in going back to basics and using pre-made templates that can provide fun activities. Let’s delve into how these simple tools can transform your next outdoor trip into a delightful experience for your kids without having to resort to using devices like smartphones or tablets.
What Are Pre-Made Templates?
Pre-made templates are essentially outlines or formats for various activities. They can range from coloring sheets and scavenger hunt lists to story prompts and outdoor games. For example, you can find amazing designs for rhyming games at https://www.storyboardthat.com/create/rhyming-words-worksheets.
Templates such as this can be printed out and packed easily in a backpack or carried in a folder. With them on hand, parents have a ready-made toolkit to keep children engaged and entertained either in the car or at a campsite.
The Value of Pre-Made Templates
Outdoor trips often involve a lot of downtime, be it during travel, while setting up camp, or simply resting after a hike. Pre-made templates offer:
- Easy Preparation: With templates, there’s no need to think up activities on the spot. Simply print out a selection of templates before your trip. You will have enough on your mind such as cooking over a campfire, erecting a tent, or cleaning up outdoor recreation gear, so there won’t be much time to think up activities during your trip.
- Educational Opportunities: Many templates are not just fun but also educational, helping kids learn about nature, wildlife, or geography in an interactive manner. This allows you to still keep the focus on embracing nature while also keeping them entertained so you yourself can get necessary tasks done.
- Creativity Boost: Templates like coloring pages or story prompts help foster creativity in children, allowing them to express themselves.
Some Popular Template Ideas for Outdoor Fun
- Nature Scavenger Hunt: Create a list of natural items or animals that children can seek out or observe in nature. For example, a pinecone, a bird feather, a spiderweb, etc. Children can tick off items as they find them. This encourages them to do a bit of exploring on their own which can help boost their independence and curiosity.
- Nature Coloring Pages: Print out pictures of animals, plants, or landscapes that kids can color. This helps them pay attention to their surroundings, as they may find some of their coloring subjects around them. If possible, try to seek out coloring ages of flora and fauna they are likely to see while on your outdoor trip as it will be more relatable and likely spark their interest more.
- Story Prompt Sheets: Start a story and let kids complete it. For instance, “In the depths of the forest, Jamie discovered a mysterious, shimmering stone…” This allows them to recall events from the day and incorporate them into a story which can help them retain their memorable moments more easily.
- Nature Bingo: A bingo card filled with items or animals you might see during your trip. The first one to spot a row or column wins. This again keeps their minds sharp when trying to seek items out while also keeping them occupied to prevent boredom.
- Travel Journal Templates: A page with prompts to help children document their journey – “Today, I saw…”, “My favorite part of today was…”, etc. This allows your children to reflect on the events of the day and express their feelings and emotions through written words.
How to Make the Most of Pre-Made Templates
- Personalize Them: Before the trip, sit with your kids and discuss what they’re most excited about. Use their input to choose or customize templates that align with their interests as this will increase the chances of templates being a success when it comes to keeping them entertained.
- Mix and Match: Combine various templates to keep things interesting. Perhaps start with a scavenger hunt, followed by a coloring session in the evening. Having a variety of choices allows kids to feel like they have the ability to make decisions as opposed to activities being forced upon them.
- Involve Everyone: Make it a family activity. Compete to see who finishes the scavenger hunt first, or sit together and share the stories you’ve written. While it is fine to encourage your kids to entertain themselves so you can get things done, you also want to show them that you too are willing to share in their experiences and bond with them during your outdoor trip.
- Supplement with Real Experiences: If a child works on a bird coloring page maybe go bird-watching the next day. If they write a story about discovering a waterfall, plan a hike to a nearby waterfall if possible. This helps build anticipation, allowing your kids to get excited about first learning and let’s say drawing an animal or object and then actually getting to see it with their own eyes in real life.
Tips for Success
- Always Carry Extras: Kids can sometimes misplace sheets or want to redo an activity. Having extra copies can be a lifesaver.
- Pack Essentials: Don’t forget to pack colored pencils, a clipboard, or other necessary accessories.
- Use Durable Storage: Keep your templates in a waterproof pouch or folder to protect them from the elements.
Beyond Entertainment: The Broader Benefits
Using these templates offers benefits that go beyond just keeping kids entertained:
- Enhances Observation Skills: Activities like scavenger hunts force kids to observe their surroundings closely, sharpening their powers of observation and helping them to learn problem-solving skills.
- Promotes Learning: Nature-based templates can be an avenue for informal learning, introducing kids to different species of flora and fauna or geological features. Spending time in nature fosters a sense of connection to the natural world, which can instill values of environmental stewardship and responsibility.
- Boosts Family Bonding: Outdoor adventures can strengthen family bonds by providing shared experiences and quality time together. Nature outings can also provide opportunities for social interaction with family and friends, promoting teamwork and cooperation.
Outdoor trips are a fantastic way for families to bond and for kids to experience the wonders of nature firsthand. By integrating fun templates into your journey, you ensure that the kids are not only entertained but also learning, observing, and creating along the way.
So, the next time you’re gearing up for an outdoor adventure, don’t forget to pack a stack of these versatile templates which will allow you to leave the electronics at home and promote a healthier balance between screen time and real life.