• Home

Getting Teens Outdoors

Getting kids outdoors and enjoying nature can be a bit tricky, but search the internet and you’ll find plenty of ideas on ways to get your little ones outside. But what happens when jumping in muddy puddles and doing nature treasure hunts becomes too childish? Getting teens outside and enjoying nature is a completely different ball game! Here’s some ideas that hopefully will be enjoyed by older kids and you never know, might even spark an interest in the outdoor world.
 


Photography and videography


Photography is something that is easy to get in to and easy to start, especially nowadays that most teens have smart phones that take some half decent images.

Getting started and knowing what to do can be a bit tricky for some kids so it’s definitely worthwhile being on hand to give some ideas like ‘find something really small’ or ‘try to get a good shot of the birds on the feeder’. Look out for some good books about how to improve as well if they take to it - you might have another BBC film maker on your hands!

Encourage them to share on social media if they want and look out for competitions that they might like to enter too.


 

 

 

 

Bird Watching


Bird watching is something that both of my teens have enjoyed and it gives a nature walk a reason for happening. We like to have a list of what we are likely to see and even have a bit of a competition as to who will see them first. Heading to nature reserves with bird hides are the best and it’s a great way to get the nature walk in too.



Taking part in wildlife surveys


One thing that went down really well with my teens was taking part in surveys. Again, I think that having a reason to be outside helped and also that it was helpful to looking after the environment. There are lots of online wildlife surveys that you can do without the need for special equipment, but we also searched out local environment and nature groups too. Quite often they’ll open up and allow visitors while doing some surveys and it’s a great way to connect to others who are passionate about their subjects. We loved doing a moth survey one year and it really opened up the world for my kids.



Volunteering


As kids get older and experience in working starts to become something to think about, volunteering for a wildlife charity or a local group is something that a teenager can certainly do. Teens are great at helping out with children’s nature days that happen in school holidays, which mine have done, but they could also help with litter pick ups, beach cleans or even conservation works too. It doesn’t even have to be conservation based - dog walking will get them outside and enjoying some fresh air too!

 




Gardening


Teens often become passionate about certain causes and my daughter was no exception - she wanted to reduce her waste and that led her to think about growing her own salad instead of having plastic wrapped food from the supermarket. That small step in to growing her own food then got her really excited to learn and grow more fruit, vegetables and flowers in our garden. She’s outside all the time now pottering about in the garden.



Foraging


Teens and food go well together so what better way to get them outside more than a foraging trip! We all love to go blackberry picking when it’s that time of year and it has an added bonus of getting them in the kitchen and making blackberry crumbles too! Make sure they know what’s safe to pick and to not try anything they aren’t sure of.



Geocaching


We started geocaching when my kids were much younger but it’s still something that we like to do now they are older. It’s basically a treasure hunt using GPS co-ordinates - you can use your iPhone and a geocaching app to get started. You follow the instructions to find one nearby and get looking - quite often you can find puzzle geocaches which require a bit of thought, ones that incorporate the history of the place you’re walking round and also ones that need a bit of skill to find the actual cache (you can get really tiny ones!). If you’re out and about on holiday it’s a great way to get to know a new area and keep everyone involved.



With teens the key is to think about their personalities and what kind of stuff they might enjoy. It’s hard to force them outdoors at this age but it’s also hard to get them to explore ideas if they are cooped up inside most of the time. Keep trying and they might find something they love doing and can be passionate about in to their futures.


Kirsty is passionate about getting all kids (from little ones to teenagers!) out and about in nature and enjoying their free time with the wind in their faces - you can see more ideas on her site - https://getkidsoutside.co.uk