After a long, cold winter, my kids and I are looking forward to getting outside when warmer weather arrives.
Luckily, we live near a great park where the kids love to play. While I certainly enjoy the park, it has quickly become our default option of where to go on a sunny day. I always admire the families that venture around the gorgeous state of Vermont, but I always felt too intimidated to follow in their footsteps. I grew up with very few outdoor experiences, so I didn’t even know where to start in my goal to get my children outdoors more often.
All I had to do was download a scorecard with a list of different activities and take pictures of my family doing them. My kids thought it was a blast and my husband and I appreciated the fact that we no longer had to wrack our brains for activity ideas every weekend.
At first, I was intimidated by the long list of activities on the scorecard, but I did like the fact that we had six months to complete the challenge. I also realized that there were enough choices that I could pick which ones worked best for my family. Last summer, we discovered that my son could hike much farther than I thought possible and that my daughter is an excellent sand castle smasher. We explored several state parks that we had been too lazy to visit before.
On top of getting my entire family outdoors, many of the activities were also educational. Both of my children really enjoyed gathering leaves and then identifying from which type of tree they came. They still point out certain trees to me. They also enjoyed identifying native Vermont wild plants. Before this challenge, I didn’t even know what most of the plants were called. I learned just as much as my children.
At the end of the challenge, we mailed in our scorecards and pictures and received passes to all of the Vermont State Parks for the next year. What a great prize! After discovering how much fun we could have at all of the different parks, we were then able to go to them for free. My son is already looking forward to going on mushroom hunts this year. I hope we’ll see you out there, too!
Written by Kayla Tornello
Kayla grew up in southeastern Ohio and met her Vermonter husband while in college. They now live in Essex Junction with their two children. Kayla is a stay-at-home mom to her nearly five-year-old son and her three-year-old daughter. She is also a church pianist/organist. Her hobbies include singing, reading, acting, and coming up with tasty ways to feed her family vegetables. She is looking forward to lots of time spent outdoors this summer.