Before You Plan any Summer Adventures with your Kids

by Katelyn Denning June 06, 2024

family playing in pool

Summer is such a great season for exploring, trying new things, and having fun.

Not that you can’t do those things year-round, but there’s something about the warmer weather, longer days, and relaxed vibe of summer that makes getting out of the house and trying new things feel easier.

But as a parent, especially with younger kids, getting out for an adventure sure does look different than it did before kids. There’s so much to consider:

  • Is the place kid-friendly? Is there a bathroom nearby or a drinking fountain? Will there be enough to see/do to keep them “entertained”?
  • Should we go before or after nap time? Is it better to eat before we go or get food while we’re out? When will everyone be most likely to be in a “good mood”?
  • Will this thing actually be fun or will it just be overstimulating, crowded, and exhausting?

Suddenly that outing or adventure is starting to sound like a lot of work. Maybe you’re questioning whether it’s actually “worth it”.

Would it just be easier to stay home and do what we usually do?

Well, you can certainly do that! Sometimes an adventure is too much. Your needs deserve consideration too.

But if taking adventures and creating those experiences for your family matters to you, it’s possible to make it work.

You just might need to shift your perspective.

What is an “adventure”?

The word adventure is used so commonly that it’s used to describe everything from a trip to Target to a back-packing excursion in the wilderness.

As parents, we often use the term to describe something fun we’re going to do.

As in, “Get your shoes on. We’re going on a little adventure.”

The textbook definition of the word adventure actually includes words and phrases like:

  • Unknown risks, danger, typically hazardous, exciting activity, and unknown territory

The words ‘fun’ and ‘enjoyable’ don’t show up anywhere there. So why do we assume that a little adventure with our kids is something that should be that?

What if an adventure is more about just trying something new? Trying something that has the potential to be exciting, but isn’t guaranteed to be that.

What’s guaranteed is that it’s new and therefore it involves some level of risk.

A day trip to a summer festival that you’ve never been to before could be an adventure. It’s new. It’s a risk because you have no idea what to expect.

It could turn out to be a blast and something that you end up doing year after year. But it could also be crowded, your kid could have a tantrum, the line for the bathrooms could be long, and the food might not be that good.

Did you have fun? Maybe not.

But did you have an adventure? You sure did!

As long as your expectations are in line and you go into any adventure, especially with kids, with the mindset that this is going to be new and different and that there’s risk involved, then it is an adventure.

But if it’s guaranteed fun you’re looking for, then you might be better off doing something that’s known. Something you’ve done before and feel confident everyone likes.

So as you think about the potential adventures you’d like to take or create with your family this summer, and before you head out the door, remind yourself of the following:

An adventure is about trying something new. We’re not guaranteed to have fun (though it’s always possible!). This is about stepping outside our comfort zone and finding out what we like and what works for us. And who knows? Maybe we’ll walk away with a great story to tell some day.

What adventures are you planning this summer?

Katelyn Denning


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