Great Kids, Great Outdoors

I’m going to find all of them!” my 5-year-old son, Gus, declares without missing a beat. We’re sitting around the kitchen table, as Gus and his sister, Mabel, age 7, ready their “acorns”: 22 wooden discs they’re painting with bright colors. My question to them: How many of these discs can you find a week…

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When Rachel Freierman was 15 years old, she went on a 10-day backpacking trip with AMC’s Teen Wilderness Adventures (TWA) program. She already felt fairly comfortable in the outdoors. Her family went car camping. They backcountry skied. Still, Freierman had never backpacked before. “I was excited to push myself,” she recalls. Every outdoor adventure has challenges, and every kid arrives at those challenges with different levels of experience. Mix in unpredictable…

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One of my favorite family traditions is our annual orienteering dash. Each year, we head to a nearby forest with a unique amenity: a permanent orienteering course. Because we hold our dash on Thanksgiving, when lots of family is around, grandmothers are paired with sons-in-law, cousins with uncles, and moms with nieces and nephews. Then…

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Of the hundreds of hikes I’ve taken in my life, the night hikes really stand out. Even the most familiar terrain feels and sounds different once the sun sets, especially if you plan ahead and know where to look. Kids love these nocturnal adventures, as well. Not only does night hiking mean staying up past…

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Early in the book The Gutsy Girl, the author, San Francisco firefighter Caroline Paul, recounts how as a teenager she decided to set a world record. The only problem was, she wasn’t very good at anything in particular. She wasn’t the strongest, the fastest, or the most skilled. But she realized she did have a plentiful…

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Spring officially starts on March 20, but New Englanders know the season really begins when the maple syrup starts flowing. And we know when that is because the region explodes with events, tastings, and tours, which are almost universally family-friendly. Here are some of the best resources to find a sugarhouse or a maple sugaring event near you,…

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Woody Guthrie famously sang, “This land is your land / This land is my land,” but as wonderful as that sentiment is, it takes a lot of work to make sure the outdoors is protected for generations to come. It’s never too early to get kids engaged in stewardship efforts, be it through volunteerism, community gardens,…

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Did the February school vacation week creep up on your family? It might feel like we just had a break, what with having three snow days and a weekend right in a row, but next week, there are five days kids have off and parents need to fill them with things to do. For those…

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Imagine a tiny ski lodge nestled against a small hill, the lodge no bigger than a typical single family home, packed with kids and families sipping cocoa around a crackling fireplace. At the helm of a small desk at the center of the lodge, the lodge “mom” sells $5 lift tickets, $3 hamburgers, and keeps…

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Cross-country skiing can be the perfect winter activity for a family outing: If snow has just fallen, you can ski right from your front door; it’s less expensive than downhill skiing; and it’s a sport people of all ages can enjoy. Rather than racing down mountains, a cross-country, or Nordic, glide along trails is an…

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