Off the screen and out the door: getting kids outside in Vancouver
Fall is here and you may be finding it hard to pull your children away from the lure of Paw Patrol (spoiler alert: the pups save the day). In fact, it may be a downright battle. But you know the whole family is much happier when part of the day is spent outside. What to do? Get creative and find new ways to make outdoor time a little more fun. Here are a few ideas.
Follow the leader
We used to live a few blocks from Dude Chilling Park in East Van. It’s an awesome park with two playgrounds and a community garden, but we’d been there a million times. So, we started to play ‘follow the leader’ to get there. Now brace yourself, this involves letting your child be the leader. Consider bringing coffee.
At each corner, I’d ask my daughter, “which way?” She’d enthusiastically point in the direction she thought we should go. It would end up being a winding route to the park, but she loved it.
Hunt for treasure
When you’re walking with a couple of toddlers, there are always gems to find. Why not make a treasure list before you go? It can be simple or more advanced based on the age of your child. With two children under four, I include things like: bark, leaf, rock, feather, shell, slug, pinecone, moss, etc.
Pacific Spirit Park near UBC or Everett Crowley Park in Champlain Heights are perfect places to let your little ones run free and hunt for treasure.
Push the limits
When I see my children try something out their comfort zone, it’s the best. And I can tell by the look on their faces, they feel amazing.
In September, we tried the Coquitlam Crunch. It’s a steep, 4.5 km urban trail with a great view of the tri-cities. It’s not as intense as the Grind, and it’s open year-round. Perfect for kids because it’s broken up into four sections. You can go as far as you like, then easily walk back down. My daughters (3 ½ and 1 ½) made it up and down the first section, which includes 437 stairs. When asked what their favourite part of the weekend was, they said, “the stairs!”
Tell us how you get your kids out the door and excited about outdoor fun!
Laura Jane has called the west coast home since moving to Vancouver more than 20 years ago to complete her degree in marine biology at UBC. She’s currently a communications professional working in the non-profit sector and loves writing, running and travelling the world. Laura lives in Port Moody with her husband, two girls and their desperately needy dog.
Great article, thanks for the imaginitve tips to motivate us to get out and enjoy fall in this beautiful city!!
Congratulations! We know you will create a wonderful spot for moms and dads to educate their children and have fun doing it!
One thing I would suggest is teaching children the old fashioned chase and search games.
In 1979(international year of the Child)I taught the game ‘Run, Sheep, Run! at a children’s picnic
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