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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Great Outdoors

Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

If you haven't already guessed, the one thing that our family loves doing is spending time together outside. Whether we're gone for half a day hiking or a weekend camping, our children are always eager to come along. I think they enjoy the outdoors as much as we do because we have fostered a love of nature since they were infants. In fact, I remember hiking Zion National Park when I was five months pregnant with my first child...although I definitely do not recommend it.

If you love camping and hiking, but have little ones and are uncertain how they would react to such a change from their normal routine, I suggest going on short and easy excursions the first few times. Soon enough they'll find spending time outdoors a part of their normal routine and may even begin asking you to go like ours do.

If you're lucky, or at least persistent, you'll find your four-year-old hiking up small mountains.


You'll find your seven-year-old helping set up camp.

Your six-year-old will help you cook.

Your ten-year-old will think she can conquer the world.


I love that niece of mine.

Children of all ages (and the adults too) will have fun learning about wildlife.

Like collared lizards:

Collared Lizard at Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

Collard Lizard at Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

Ring-necked snakes:


Fence lizards:

Male Fence Lizard


Wild Bison at Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

and more.

Hiking and camping doesn't have to be hard. I used to think that the only "real" camping experience came from "roughing it". That isn't necessarily so. I've discovered many tips to have a fun and rewarding outdoor experience over the years with relative ease and convenience. I'd like to share those tips with y'all, but thought I'd see if there is an interest first. Would you like me to share some of my camping/hiking/roadtrip tips in an ongoing series with you? I promise it'll be worth your time!

Hey, I may even give you the secret to what hotdogs are made of...if you're lucky. But don't take it from me, just ask Dan Aykroyd himself.


Taylor-Made Wife said...

We are big outdoorsy people, so I definitely plan to drag our kiddos along so they enjoy it from an early age as well.

Harmony said...

I love camping! I would love to hear tips/tricks from you.

Wym said...

Yes, Especially places to go in Texas! We have been to Lost Maples in the Hill Country and Garner State Park. We want more hikes and fossil hunts. How do you get a two year old to fall alseep in a tent?

Kristi said...

Any and all tips would be appreciated! We bought a nice new tent last fall and have yet to take it out of the box. Something about all those little kids and open fire pits keep me from taking the plunge. But we did so much camping as little kids and some of my best memories are those trips, so I'd like to start doing it with my kids.

Foursons said...

That lizard has an amazing blue color on him!

~Amy Jo~ said...

I'd love to hear your tips, especially about Texas camping. Thanks!

Screwed Up Texan said...

Taylor-Made, Yes! The biggest key is to get them started early.

Harmony, Yes!

Wym, I can definitely give you more options than those two...although I am dying to visit both the places you mentioned.

Kristi, LOL I had the same fears when mine were little about fire, but they learn quickly to stay away and/or how to be safe around them quickly. Although I noticed over the weekend that my oldest is turning into a pyro. I think y'all'd do great at the ages yours are.

Foursons, Doesnt he!

Amy Jo, Yeah! There's so many places to visit here in Texas. So glad there is an interest!

Jill C. said...

Awesome pictures! We love the outdoors too!

Candance said...

Yeah, I don't camp unless I'm in something that has plumbing and an outlet so I can do my hair.

I know, I'm high maintenance.

I'll read your tips, though.

Mindee@ourfrontdoor said...

Um, yeah, - I am SO not going camping. I'd be happy to hear about your adventures though!

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