Dirt Rag Magazine

Brain Fart: Out and about (with kids)

Odin enjoying his favorite outdoor pastime.

By Stephen Haynes

Some of my best memories as a kid were of doing things outdoors with my parents. Fishing with my Dad, learning to surf with my Stepdad, camping with both sets of parents. All good times. A large part of me wishes I’d paid a little more attention to my Dad when teaching me the names of the trees, or what poison ivy looks like, but the love of the outdoors stuck. As my own children grow up, I’d like for them to be able to look back and smile at the same sort of memories.

The past few weekends my family has spent more time sleeping on bedrolls in a tent then on mattresses at home. This makes me smile. Three days at Raystown Lake for Dirt Rag’s Dirt Fest and the three days the following weekend at a remote site in George Washington State Forest in Virginia. Both sites centered around different activities but were enjoyed nearly equally by the kids.

Our home away from home. It was rainy.

My kids do pretty well out of doors. My daughter enjoys fishing and my son enjoys throwing rock into bodies of water. They both enjoy lake and river swimming, hiking, sitting around a fire and in general bicker less than you might expect. Perhaps we lucked out.

We keep a sprawling garden every year and are always investigating new bugs or digging up worms, building up our immunities to the creepy crawlies out in the wild. On the second half of our springtime outings my daughter did run upon a large, bright orange spider that made her do jazz hands and scream like, well, like a girl. She laughed about this fact for several days afterward “I totally screamed like a girl Dad!”. At least we can laugh about it.

In the age of the smartphone and ready entertainment, I thinks it’s becoming increasingly important to introduce younger generations to the natural world. I still don’t know the names of the trees and feel a little skeptical about my poison ivy spotting abilities but I love that my kids love going outside.

The sun finally broke through and we celebrated with ice cream. Darby also got to show off her big catch of the weekend.

 

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