Adventures R Us / Des aventures et nous

outdoors-nature-hiking-Ireland-France

We are an outdoors family. Here are five reasons we love exploring nature and going on family adventures, big and small, wherever we happen to be. 

1. Time well spent

With three children in primary school and one in preschool (although the Nature Kindergarten is anything but), and one husband away at work 12 hours a day, 5 days a week, time together as a family is rather scarce.

Factor in the daily chores, homework and a few extracurricular activities, and there is not much time left to enjoy each other’s company. By the end of the day everybody is going through the motions, and the mood is often more about coercion than connection.

outdoors-nature-hiking-Ireland-FranceThen the weekend comes, and it feels like an open door. Not once have we regretted going on a family adventure. We invariably come back feeling refreshed and grateful.

While the acorns burn off some steam, we also, as parents, are at our best in the great outdoors. Free from the incessant demands of daily life, we are present, available, calm, for a few precious hours.

No timetable. No agenda. No distraction.

Time well spent.

2. Making memories

Kids don’t remember their best day of television.

But the acorns will never forget rolling down the hill overlooking heart-shaped Lough Ouler;
Our summer of wild swimming around France;
Eating a bowl of steaming hot noodles by the Glenealo waterfall;
Observing adorable little puffins on Saltee Island Great;
Or learning to ski with their cousins in France.

Is it the thrill of doing something different? Is it the power of sharing experiences? Is it the joy of being in nature?
Whatever it is, family adventures make for the best memories.
End of.

outdoors-nature-hiking-Ireland-France

3. Unplugged, connected

Pause Netflix. Shut down Minecraft. Leave the phone at home.
(Ok, the phone might come in handy for a spot of geocaching, so maybe not!)

Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes.
Including you.

Away from the irresistible pull of electronic entertainment, away from the constant pings and alerts, exploring together brings us closer as a family.

Indoors they squabble over toys, treats, screen time.
Outdoors they roam and they play and they bond.

Indoors they compete.
Outdoors they cooperate. 

No more distraction. Time for connection.

outdoors-nature-bushcraft-Ireland-France

4. Learning on family adventures

It’s all very well making a paper plate craft about the life cycle of the frog. Or writing down the various parts of a tree on a school worksheet. Or learning about endangered animals through a wildlife documentary.

Not all classrooms have four walls.

If there is no connection to the very nature that surrounds us, all this ‘learning’ happens in a vacuum. If children don’t know, or care, about the natural world, how can they be expected to look after it in the future?

Thankfully the acorns, Squirrel especially, don’t see themselves as separate from the natural world. They are at one with the mountains, with the rivers, with the forests, and with the sea. They belong.

I want to nurture this precious connection.

Let them fall in love with the Earth before asking them to save it.

outdoors-nature-climbing-Ireland-France

5. Staying alive

Why do we like going outside so much? Because it is great fun!

Call it thrill-seeking if you like. Or rediscovering our inner child. But nothing compares to the bliss of moving and playing in nature with the acorns.

At the end of the day, if it wasn’t fun, we wouldn’t do it. It may seem easier sometimes to just snuggle up inside. But if truth be told, we never feel more alive than in nature.
All senses alert.
Body moving.
Mind at peace.

It’s time to kick open the door. What adventures will you have with your children?

outdoors-nature-hiking-Ireland-Glendalough

 

Further reading

For some inspiration on why and how to get outside with the children, please check out these books, Last Child in the Woods, by Richard Louv, and 100 Family Adventures, by the Meek Family.

     

Blogging about Connection – my #OneWord365 for 2017.


outdoors-nature-hiking-Ireland-France

Nous sommes une famille pleine nature. Voici, en cinq raisons, pourquoi nous aimons autant explorer le monde autour de nous et partir à l’aventure en famille, où que nous soyons.

1. Au temps présent

Avec trois enfants en primaire et un autre en maternelle (même si son jardin d’enfants n’a rien d’une école), et un mari absent douze heures par jour, cinq jours par semaine, il ne nous reste guère de temps à passer en famille.

Ajoutons à tout ça les corvées quotidiennes, les devoirs et les activités périscolaires, et les bons moments se font aussi rares et fugaces qu’un rayon de soleil en décembre. Chacun essaie alors de terminer la journée en limitant les dégâts, et l’ambiance est plus à la contrainte qu’à la connexion.

Puis le weekend arrive, comme une porte qui s’ouvre.

Jamais nous n’avons regretté d’être partis pour une aventure en famille. Chaque fois, nous rentrons revigorés et reconnaissants. 

outdoors-nature-bushcraft-Ireland-FranceSi les graines de chêne en profitent pour dépenser leur trop-plein d’énergie, nous aussi sommes à notre meilleur en pleine nature. Libres de la kyrielle d’obligations quotidiennes, nous sommes présents, disponibles et calmes, pour quelques heures précieuses. 

Sans horaire à respecter. Sans impératif à obéir. Sans interruption à justifier.

Du temps bien dépensé.

2. Une fabrique à souvenirs

Les enfants ne retiennent pas leur meilleur jour de télévision.

Les graines de chêne n’oublieront jamais les roulades endiablées au-dessus du lac en forme de cœur.
Ni notre été de baignades sauvages en France.
Ni leur premier bol de nouilles instantanées au bord de la cascade de Glenealo.
Ni les jolis petits macareux sur l’île Grande Saltee.
Ni leur journée de ski avec leurs cousins aux Estables.

Est-ce l’excitation d’essayer quelque chose de nouveau ? Est-ce la force des expériences partagées ? Est-ce la joie d’être au grand air ?
Quoi qu’il en soit, les aventures en famille fabriquent les meilleurs souvenirs.
Point final.

outdoors-nature-Saltee-island-Ireland

3. Débranchés, connectés

Eteignez la télé. Arrêtez Minecraft. Laissez le téléphone.
(Ok, le téléphone pourrait s’avérer utile pour faire un peu de géocaching !)

Tout fonctionne mieux après avoir été débranché pendant quelques minutes.
Toi y compris.

Loin de l’attrait irrésistible des appareils électroniques, loin des bips et sonneries incessantes, partir ensemble à l’aventure nous rapproche. 

Dedans ils se chamaillent pour jouets, sucreries et écrans.
Dehors ils explorent et ils jouent et ils se rapprochent.

Dedans ils rivalisent.
Dehors ils coopèrent.

A bas les distractions. Moment de connexion.

outdoors-nature-hiking-Ireland-Wicklow-childhood

4. A l’école buissonnière

Il n’y a aucun mal à recréer le cycle de vie de la grenouille sur une assiette en carton.
Ni à apprendre les différentes parties de l’arbre sur une feuille d’exercice.
Ni à découvrir des espèces animales menacées dans un documentaire animalier. 

Toutes les classes n’ont pas quatre murs.

Sans connexion avec la nature qui nous entoure, tous ces “apprentissages” sont dépourvus de contexte. Si les enfants ne connaissent rien de leur environnement, comment peut-on espérer qu’ils le préservent à l’avenir ?

Heureusement, les graines de chêne, notamment Ecureuil, ne se considèrent pas comme séparés du monde naturel. Leur attachement aux montagnes, aux rivières, à la forêt et à la mer est réel. Ils font partie de la nature.

Je veux maintenir cette connexion précieuse.

Qu’ils tombent amoureux de la Terre avant qu’on leur demande de la sauver.

fearless-beach-wave-vague-plage-mermaid-sirène

5. Vivants

Pourquoi aimons-nous autant aller dehors ? Parce qu’on s’y éclate !

Que ce soit par soif de sensations fortes, ou pour réveiller l’enfant qui sommeille en chacun de nous, bouger et jouer en plein air avec les graines de chêne nous remplit d’une joie incomparable.

Car si on ne s’amusait pas, à quoi bon mettre le nez dehors ? Il serait parfois tentant de rester dedans blottis sous la couette. Mais nous ne sentirions pas aussi vivants.
Tous les sens en éveil.
Le corps en mouvement.
L’esprit en paix. 

Il est temps d’ouvrir la porte en grand. Quelles aventures partagerez-vous avec vos enfants ?

outdoors-nature-four-acorns-Ireland-snow

 

 

Reflectionsfromme

Cuddle Fairy   Cuddle Fairy   RachelSwirl  Diary of an imperfect mumCountry KidsTammymum ethannevelyn.com 

life as our little family  A Wanderful Childhood  Reflections From Me   Rhyming with WineBrilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

   Blog Crush linky on lucyathome.co.uk

94 Responses to “Adventures R Us / Des aventures et nous

  • I couldn’t agree more, there is so much more to remember when you take it all outdoors. #candidcuddles

    • True! All my best childhood memories are of times playing/exploring outside. Thank you for commenting 🙂

  • This is such a great article and you’ve put in to words so beautifully what is great about outdoors family time. I reckon there’s nothing better 🙂
    Stacey from An Outdoors Family recently posted…Family adventure blogs to follow in 2017

  • Your kids sounds like they have an awesome life-so much adventure. And how cool to have a bilingual blog! #tuesdaytresures

    • Thank you! They don’t even question the fact that we go out and explore wherever we find ourselves, which is great! 🙂

  • Linda Boulet
    7 months ago

    Je partage complètement !!! Cela dit, bien que nous ayons habitué nos trois loulous à profiter au maximum de l’extérieur, proposant moult sorties nature, à diverses saisons et dans des endroits aussi variés que possible, il arrive un moment (et nous en sommes là avec nos deux aînés) où la simple évocation d’une randonnée ou d’une balade en famille provoque immanquablement cris de contestation et refus catégorique de nous accompagner. Je garde l’espoir que les petites graines de liberté, de grands espaces ou de soif de découverte que nous avons semées tout au long de leur enfance germeront une fois l’adolescence et l’adulescence terminées.
    Profite bien de cette époque bénie, où tout ce que tu proposes les enchante.
    grosses bises

    • Je pensais bien que cet article te parlerait… Oui, je crains un peu l’adolescence pour les raisons que tu décris. Ne perds pas espoir, les graines semées tout au long de leur enfance referont surface un jour…
      Bises à tous les cinq

  • I love getting out with the kids, but it is not always easy as I work over the weekend.
    #FamilyFun

  • Oh what truly beautiful post! I always say to mine that they will not remember the beauty of childhood from hours on the phone. You have to go live. I love this! Beautiful inspirational pictures too #FamilyFun

  • I wouldn’t call us an outdoorsy family, yet we do spend a lot of time outside so perhaps we are!! Walks in country parks, along the seafront, playing in the garden etc, and I agree with all of your points made here. Really lovely post, and I love that you write in both English and French, I should probably try to read the French version to try to improve mine!! #CandidCuddles
    Mrs Lighty recently posted…A Year on from Maternity Leave

    • All that matters is spending time outside so kids can play and explore freely. So of course you are an outdoorsy family 🙂

  • Oh I loved this post – really inspiring! You are absolutely spot on we need to unplug and be present. That is why I love our weekend adventures too! Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime
    Catie: An Imperfect Mum recently posted…#ablogginggoodtime #40

    • Very happy this post struck a chord with you Catie! Thank you for hosting #ablogginggoodtime 🙂

  • Inspiring stuff, you can’t beat spending time outdoors #BloggerClubUK

  • I really love the picture you painted of your family here. What a lovely way to spend time together and teach your children about the world. #farawayfiles

    • Oh thank you Meena, this post more or less spells out our family’s philosophy, and I’m glad it resonated with you.

  • A lovely post! This is exactly why I’ve always loved travel, the ability to disconnect from everyday life which enables us to come together as a family and enjoy something as one. I love the time we are out and about exploring with no wifi or electronics! #farawayfiles
    Hilary recently posted…Highlights… & Hindsights Making The Case for Repeat Destinations

    • Thank you Hilary! I’ve always loved travelling and exploring too, and I’ve found out with children that you needn’t go far to get the benefits of offline time. x

  • That is truely a great way to live! I don’t think i want anything other than an outdoor lifestyle for my kids. So much to be gained! Wish we had a forest school near us… my little bought me his shoes at 7 in the morning this week saying outside, made me smile! ‪Thank you for linking up to the #familyfunlinky‬
    Karen | TwoTinyHands recently posted…Back On The Bike #FamilyFunLinky

    • Oh how sweet! It seems you’ve already sowed in him the seeds of an outdoors lifestyle. I don’t know where you live but there are more and more forest schools opening in the UK so maybe there will be one near you when the Robot starts school…
      Thank for hosting #FamilyFun!

  • Yes to all of the above! Time together is so precious but so much more when we are truly connected outside. So dutifully written! #familyfun
    Andrea @Topsy Turvy Tribe recently posted…Malaga Port, Museums & Beach with Children

    • Totally agree Andrea! It looks like you’ve got the outdoor family time down to a T already 😉 Love your photos too!

  • You touch on many reasons why I love the outdoors. #FamilyFun
    Helena recently posted…Poetry, Pinterest and Practicing Self Care #LittleLoves

  • Loved this post, Annette. I couldn’t agree more about the joy and need to explore the outside world as a family, without any phones, ipads, TVs and computers. It’s such a great way of reconnecting with each other. Thanks for sharing this on #FarawayFiles

    • Thank you Clare, so very happy that you liked this post. Thanks for hosting #FarawayFiles. x

  • I love this post. We really need to start getting outdoors more as a family and you have certainly given me some motivation ! I love the quote about unplugging. Thanks for linking up with #TuesdayTreasures
    Angela Webster recently posted…Almost Spring

    • Angela, I am so happy that this post has inspired you to spend more time outdoors with your family. You won’t regret it! x
      Thanks for hosting #TuesdayTreasures

  • Absolutely agree Annette. Everyone benefits from outdoors time – physically, mentally and emotionally. I really notice the difference in behaviour if we have missed a day outdoors too. None of my friends in Australia would describe me as particularly outdoorsy but here in the UK I’ve been compared to Bear Grylls! OK, not quite but I do think it is a real shame that people keep their kids indoors way too much. Thanks for sharing on #farawayfiles
    Katy recently posted…Little Passports review: Early Explorers kids subscription box

    • It’s funny you should say that, Katy. Here in Ireland we’re considered a Bear Grylls-type family too, while in Denmark, where we spent three years, what we do would appear nothing out of the ordinary!
      Thank you for hosting #FarawayFiles x

  • A great post and a great family philosophy. i loved the read and it makes me think more about my boys. The bit where you say that inside they compete and outside they cooperate really hit home.

    Mainy

    #BloggerClubUK

    • Thank you so much for this heartfelt comment Mainy. Go outside with your boys, and you’ll see the magic happen 😉

  • Aaah qu’est ce-que j’adore cet article 🙂 I don’t know where to start! A fellow French speaker and you live in glorious Ireland where I have good friends and you’re Danish and I know lots of Danes here in Malta ha ha. And I love hiking! I’m such a city girl but having left London years ago and now the kids aren’t too young for exploring/adventures I’m really starting to enjoy living in Malta and getting to SEE the natural terrain instead of just sitting on the beach. I identify so much with the hubby’s long hours thing and I’m so keen to nurture family Sunday instead of just sitting on the sofa (which is why I’m feeling irritated by my son’s baseball game which has taken him and the kids out for 5 hours robbing us of our hike today!) WE are good at the sofa thing though lol; big film family. Anyway sorry I’ve just written an entire essay here but FYI I’m sharing this post on FB Monday 20th with a big write up of why I loved it. Merci de l’avoir écrit! I’m soooo glad you linked this to #candidcuddles.

    • This comment makes my day Prabs! Soooo happy this post resonated so much with you, and I can’t wait to read your write-up tomorrow… Thank you so so much!

      Oh by the way, I am French, not Danish – it’s only that we lived in Denmark for three years 😉

  • This is so true, and I respect and admire you so much for taking the time to go on these “adventures” with your kids. There is nothing in my opinion – nothing – more valuable in self-development (for kids and adults) than feeling a bond with nature. Inspirational. #FarawayFiles
    Jonny (daisythebus) recently posted…Mannheim: it surprised us!

    • As ever, thank you so much for this fab comment! It seems we have so much in common, and not just the size of our families! 😉 Merci du fond du coeur! 🙂

  • Gosh this looks like such a fab outdoor time, thanks so much for joining in with #TuesdayTreasures!

  • What a fabulous post! I miss those days when my teens were little and were happy to come on outdoor adventures, it is more of a struggle for us to get them to join us now but when they do agree it is wonderful to enjoy their company whilst undistracted by screens. #ablogginggoodtime

    • It must be so much harder with teenagers, well done on persuading to go along with you every so often. I so hope the acorns don’t ever lose their love of the outdoors!

  • Those are my kinds of walks too! I miss going out on walks like this one. It’s just lovely to spend out doors with kids, isn’t it? Lovely photos 🙂 #countrykids

  • Wonderful heartfelt post. Thank you for sharing. I completely agree and find it difficult living in the center of the city to get our doses of outdoors (beyond our bicycles.) I seek this space when I travel, but need to figure out better ways to incorporate it into our everyday. Great inspiration, cheers from Copenhagen! Erin

    • Living in Copenhagen I found that it was actually easy enough to get some fresh air, even if it wasn’t necessarily on a daily basis. The acorns absolutely loved Fælledsparken when we last visited in September 😉

  • Hi Annette, very nicely put. When my two were young a group of us would often head down to the woods and dunes near the beach to do a bit of sand sledging, ‘dinosaur’ hunting and there was even a Peter Pan island to explore. These are the things my two remember now. Smartphones, tablets and computers weren’t a thing back then though.

    xx

    • Thank you Debbie. I also go out as often as I can with a group of mothers from the school and their children. The kids absolutely love playing outdoors together, it’s great seeing them just being kids. I hope they also remember these times when they’re older.

  • Really, there are no disadvantages of spending time together outside. About the worst thing that could happen is someone falls and gets hurt, right? (In theory.) 🙂 Thanks for sharing on the #fabfridaypost. We love getting outdoors too!
    Alicia Owen recently posted…Sunny Spring Days Giveaway

    • So right! Even falls and grazes are part of learning risk self-assessment, aren’t they? Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  • I feel the same. If you ask my three what we do, they’ll say “go to the woods!” because we spend most weekends there. Like you I have 3 at primary school and hubby at work so weekends are are main time together, and with no spare cash going walking is something we can all enjoy together. Sarah #FabFridayPost
    Sarah Stockley recently posted…Let them go barefoot

    • This is something I didn’t think to mention – how cheap it is to get outdoors with the kids. Everyone can afford it, which is great! Thanks for pointing this out Sarah 🙂

  • Great post. Connecting with nature is a great way to connect with each other too. #FabFridayPost

  • We always try to make the most of our family time, as you’re so right.. those are the memories they’ll remember forever! Fab post xx
    Emily and Indiana recently posted…Visiting The Queen and #Peppa1stCinema Experience

  • Oh my goodness your photos are truly amazing. And what an amazing month of adventures you have had #MyFamilyAdventures

  • This truly touched me. It is so true. My best childhood memories are in the mountains with my dad, or snorkelling in the ocean, building family sandcastles. And even with my own children my favourite times are when we hiked in Tasmania and learnt about the endangered animals. Thank you so much for sharing this on #mg, fabulous and insertional post!

    • It sounds like you had a great childhood, and your children are having a fabulous time growing up too. Thank you for such a heartfelt comment, Mackenzie. Coming from someone like you who writes so well from the heart, it means a lot. x 🙂

  • What beautiful pictures. It sounds as though you have some amazing family adventures. I couldn’t agree more that unplugging is the best way to connect.
    Nell (Pigeon Pair and Me) recently posted…Learning to play tennis: What to expect from LTA #TennisForKids FREE sessions

  • I totally agree with you. Today is a perfect example. Out early in the morning, family time, no internet just good family fun in the outdoors. You can’t beat it in my book. Lovely photos x
    #BlogCrush

    • We had one of those days yesterday too, without the getting up early part ha 😉 Thank you for your comment!

  • Congrats this was my favourite #mg post this week, thanks again for linking up xx
    Mackenzie Glanville recently posted…on a cold, windy, lazy Sunday afternoon #mg

  • Oh I love this post so much! We love going on outside adventures as a family too. I loved this line: “Indoors they squabble over toys, treats, screen time. Outdoors they roam and they play and they bond.” This is exactly why we first started doing it – it was easier to take them out than let them annoy each other at home. But now we do it because we just thoroughly enjoy ourselves. Even at 2 years old, our youngest will happily walk 2 miles before needing to sit on someone’s shoulders, because that’s what she’s used to, and we’re all having fun. #blogcrush
    Lucy At Home recently posted…#BlogCrush Week 8: 7th April 2017

  • What a gorgeous post and I totally agree with all of your sentiments! Love your photos too #awanderfulchildhood

  • Our most precious family moments came when we were outdoors exploring nature together. Any child missing this is poor, no matter how much money his family has.

  • I love your posts and the beautiful photos you take with your family. I enjoy hiking most because of the time we get to spend together, having fun as a family. We plan to visit Ireland soon but for now we will keep exploring outdoor in our area 🙂 Your posts and photos are a great source of inspiration and will get us there sooner for sure. Thanks for sharing.
    Bianca recently posted…Best Folding Chairs for Sports Events & Tailgate Parties

    • Thank you so much Bianca, and don’t hesitate to get in touch whenever you visit Ireland 😉

  • Lovely post. The pictures are stunning. The kids looks like they’re having fun

  • Loved this post to heights. My takeaway- Let them fall in love with the Earth before asking them to save it.
    Thanks for sharing such breath taking pics. You made my day. #familyfun
    upasna recently posted…The only way to empower women is to provide them financial freedom

  • I love this post. It’s so good to be outside and feel refreshed. #mmbc
    Helena recently posted…Exploring Lake Windermere and Wray Castle

  • jodie filogomo
    4 months ago

    OMG…that quote about how kids don’t remember the tv is so fabulous!!
    Jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com

  • Excellent metaphor used for disconnecting from the day to day life “unplugging.” It’s almost to easy to get caught up in everyday life and then before you know time gets away from us all. Great post

    • Thank you for taking the time to comment. Glad my post resonated with you. We all need to ‘unplug’ every so often, don’t we?

  • “Kids don’t remember their best day of television.” You are so right about that! That is the quote I need to use with my husband tonight to remind him that we’re trying to plan an adventure to the Scottish Highlands that will last a lifetime!

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