Happy Friday, friends! For this week’s installment of Friday Favorites, I’d like to share a few of my favorite outdoorsy Instagramers with you. Two of my biggest passions are getting kids outdoors and photography, so I get very excited when I find other like minded parents with a drive to get their kids exploring outdoors and an eye for images. Each of these accounts are full of gorgeous photos, beautiful words and lot of outdoor activities. We have a few professional photographers, but there are also stay-at-home moms, bloggers, doctors, adventurers and free spirits. We’re featuring accounts from across the country; from the Pacific Northwest and California to Texas and Tennessee, from the mountains to the beach and everything in between. Their styles are all different and unique, but they all share of love of nature, a love for their children and a love of capturing special moments in time.
I’ve featured images from each of these accounts on the Run Wild My Child Instagram page (I hope you’re following!) and you will certainly see them again. I have found Instagram to be a wonderful place to not only find photography inspiration, but to scout locations and get ideas for planning your own outdoor adventures with your kids. I’ve included some fun info on each of the accounts below with links to their feeds and their answers to a few questions about getting their kids outside. I hope you’ll go check them all out and follow along on their adventures!
- Favorite outdoor activity to do with your kids: My kids love the beach, so that’s where we spend most of our time. But my favorite thing to do is fruit-picking: apples, strawberries, blueberries, etc. There’s something so timeless and nostalgic to me about it. Then we take it all home and I make pie or cobbler or jam.
- Biggest struggle with getting kids outdoors: My kids constantly want to be entertained and they want scheduled activities. I find it difficult to get them to just be play creatively outdoors in our neighborhood.
- What you’re looking forward to doing most with your kids this summer: I’m looking forward to beach time and pool time this summer. It gets pretty hot here in San Diego, so we will be spending lots of time by the water.
- Advice for other parents about getting their kids outdoors: I find family activities help get my kids outdoors. If we all go mountain-biking, to the beach, or to play tennis together, it gets us all outdoors and enjoying the activity.
- Favorite outdoor activity to do with your kids: My favorite is exploring the beach near our house. I am so happy there, and I think it rubs off on the kids. It’s an easy outing that we are all familiar with, and it is close by, so we don’t have to do much planning. All of that makes it makes it extra enjoyable. I know many of my photos look like we are in the middle of no-where, but usually we are just out and about at urban and suburban parks and beaches.
- Biggest struggle with getting kids outdoors: Living in the PNW, it is definitely the weather. Appropriate and good quality clothing helps, but there are some days it is just too wet and stormy to muster any enthusiasm about going outside. If the wind isn’t bad, I usually make the effort no matter how hard it is raining or how cold it is (for some reason wind really bugs me, and scares me a little.)
- What are you looking forward to doing most with your kids this summer: We have a lot of camping trips planned, and I am very excited to do these with the kids. We always pick campgrounds we know will be good with the kids. We plan waaaay ahead of time to make sure we have campgrounds and sites that will suit our needs. I am also really excited about watching the solar eclipse with them on August 21st!
- Advice for other parents about getting their kids outdoors: When I decided to stay home with my kids after my second son was born 2 years ago, and my oldest was then 2 years old (my boys are now 2 and 4 years old), I made a resolution with myself we would go outside a good part of the day, every day no matter the weather. At first it was hard when the weather turned bad, but after awhile, it mostly just became habit. The more I did it, the easier it became for all of us and its sort of second nature now. Start small – you don’t have to go anywhere in particular, you can just explore your yard or your street if that’s all you have time and energy to do, but doing it often will make the big trips easier too.
- Favorite outdoor activity to do with your kids: Ooh, this is tough to choose one. Especially since we get to enjoy all four seasons. Favorite Winter activity is skiing as a family, even our not quite two year old & pregnant mama get on skis! In the summer, my favorite is camping!
- Biggest struggle with getting kids outdoors: My kids are happiest outdoors as am I, so we can’t get out quick enough each day. It can be a lot of work though. Depending on the weather and how long we’ll be out, multiple changes of clothes & plenty of food for the tribe may be needed!
- What are you looking forward to doing most with your kids this summer: Camping! We try to spend as much time in the mountains and near water as possible. We even back packed in when we just had one kid, but haven’t been brace enough to attempt this since adding a second kid.
- Advice for other parents about getting their kids outdoors: Do it daily! Once you get in the habit, it’s just a part of life. Regardless of the weather. Be okay with messy kids. Be okay with no real plans or destinations. Just being in nature is good for everyone!
- Favorite outdoor activity to do with your kids: Hiking!
- Biggest struggle with getting kids outdoors: Getting past the parking lot. For some reason, from the car to the trail head, there seems to be way more meltdowns than actually on trail.
- What are you looking forward to doing most with your kids this summer: Waterfall hikes and the hikes that are closed off over the pass during the winter!
- Advice for other parents about getting their kids outdoors: Just go! They can go in their pajamas, just throw a jacket over them, grab a squeeze pouch and go. Getting them out will help your sanity and theirs!
- Favorite outdoor activity to do with your kids: Hiking, camping
- Biggest struggle with getting kids outdoors: How much I need to pack. It’s amazing how much more stuff is needed with two extra littles in tow!
- What are you looking forward to doing most with your kids this summer: Camping at some of our favorite remote places and also bringing them backpacking for the first time (they’re 3 & 5 and finally able to lug packs for short distances).
- Do you have any advice for other parents about getting their kids outdoors: Just get outside, and repeat. I’m amazed at how comfortable my kids are in inclement weather and how excited they get about sleeping outside, and I have it all to thank to taking them outdoors since they were babies.
- Favorite outdoor activity to do with your kids: In the summer, we hike and climb in the local mountains and the Sierras, and spend time on the coast – surfing, tide pooling, and just hanging out on the beach. We do a lot of weekend day trips and some longer road trips. We are also learning how to climb with help from some friends. In the winter, we snowboard and ski, and we spend more time in the desert than at the beach.
- Biggest struggle with getting kids outdoors: As a single, urban-dwelling parent with a full-time job, the biggest struggle is just managing time. I only have a handful of weekend days each month when I have the kids all day. I have to be ready to take full advantage of those opportunities, and I rarely let a free day go by without doing something significant with the kids outside. It’s easy to make excuses, to put it off until next weekend, to schedule the kids into weekend activities to avoid doing anything else, to succumb to peer pressure about what you “should be” doing with your kids, to complain about traffic, or just to be too tired. Living in Los Angeles, nature does’t come easy. You have to make an effort.
- What are you looking forward to doing most with your kids this summer: We are gearing up and practicing for our first backpacking trip this summer. We are hiking into a mountain lake in the Sierras to spend at least two nights. I did so many serious backpacking trips with my parents growing up, and I am really excited to graduate from car camping and take our camping experience to the next level. The kids will complain on the hike, I will have to stay patient and calm, but once we get there I know they will love and be so proud of their accomplishment.
- Do you have any advice for other parents about getting their kids outdoors: The biggest barrier I’ve seen for parents getting their kids really out into nature is fear. Fear of the unknown and fear of failure. What should we do? Where should we go? What should we bring? How far is the drive? What is there to do when we get there? Is it safe? Are there bugs? Or bears? Will it be cold? Will the kids have fun? And on and on. Going on a your first camping trip or real road trip can feel overwhelming. It takes practice and planning and failing a few times to get it right. To get started, my advice is go small and go often. If you’re out doing something every weekend, your chances of failure might increase but your risk decreases. If an occasional day trip doesn’t work out or it rains or you get lost or someone gets hurt, it’s not a big deal. Work your way up to longer trips – one-nighters, two-nighters. And build your confidence. Take notes, remember what you forgot. And more importantly remember what you brought that didn’t need. Connect with influencers on Instagram, ask questions, join meet ups, adventure with other families. Make a plan and a commitment to go on adventures, and don’t let anything change those plans. The kids will survive missing a soccer game or a birthday party.
- Favorite outdoor activity to do with your kids: playing at the beach or collecting rocks at the lake – we love the water!
- Biggest struggle with getting kids outdoors: sunscreen in the summer and coats in the winter – lots of fights about these things
- What are you looking forward to doing most with your kids this summer: playing in the pool
- Advice for other parents about getting their kids outdoors: If we’re feeling unmotivated, which happens to us all the time, I’ll usually pick a new fun spot to go to and make it an “adventure.” We are lucky to have lots of parks and lakes around us, but it could just be to a local park or a splash pad or a nature walk down the street. Sometimes we’ll go on a nature hunt and I’ll draw or list things for them to find.
- Favorite outdoor activity to do with your kids: I love to go on adventurous walks with them and find new parks.
- Biggest struggle with getting kids outdoors: I don’t have much of a struggle getting my boys outside. I can’t get them back inside to do homework or take a bath.
- What are you looking forward to doing most with your kids this summer: I am so excited for summer. I can’t wait to go to the beach with them. We love to make sandcastles and play in the waves.
- Advice for other parents about getting their kids outdoors: I would advise parents to really limit electronics and television starting from a young age. We try to stick to only an hour of television during the day. We started talking walks outdoors with the boys from a young age and always encouraged outdoor play. Sprinklers and a water hose provide hours of play!
Darby & Nicholas Ficek – parents of 8 kids
- A little about @forestnfolk: We live in beautiful Southern Oregon just steps away from the evergreen forest. Let’s start with me: I grew up with crazy hippie people who lived off the redwood forest, didn’t drink milk or eat anything processed. I was a barefoot, crazy haired real wild child. My parents were exceptionally in tune with nature. My father was a 3rd generation forager. He knew every name of every weed, floral or spray. He knew its purpose, if we could eat it or if it was possible to wildcraft. They were some of the most down to earth people you could meet and if you did you fell in love. So naturally I inherited their love for the forest, all of its creatures and it’s magnificent creator. My husband grew up in Bend with a little straighter narrow parents, but indeed outdoorsy. At age 5 he started to hike 10-15 miles pretty frequently and at age 8 he hiked a 50 miler. If there’s a trail in Bend…he knows it. Some of his fondest memories as a child are on backpacking trips were his father would read huge chapter books late into the night with a flashlight in their tent. So you take two who grew up with the forest as a constant at their feet … you put them together + they make a lot babies and then you get forestnfolk.
- How do you do it?!!: Our whole marriage we have had comments about ” how do you do it?” ” How do you adventure and travel with all those kids?” Well, the secret is having trust in yourself. I mean yes, snacks, lots of water, games and the occasional bribery of gummy bears, but if you believe in yourself as a parent you can do it. I tell my children often you can do anything you put your mind to. I’m not saying it’s easy peasy. Sometimes I want to pull my hair out just to get out the door, but when we do it’s ALL worth it.
- Biggest struggled with getting your kids outdoors: I feel like some parents think getting outside is harder than it really is. The truth is children thrive in an outdoor environment. I think being outside is a whole lot easier than being indoors, to be honest. They’re open to imagination out there….they have room to roam….to create the ability to be resourceful for themselves including self awareness. They learn a sense of responsibility. They have a connection with nature….With living beautiful things around them…it’s quite astonishing actually to see them develop this yearning for themselves. Trust me I have eight children. It’s extremely nerve wracking when we are stuck indoors and they are asking me to entertain them. Not that I don’t love creating creative outlets just saying it’s easier on me to let them be wild in the woods.
- What are you looking forward to doing most with your kids this summer: I look forward to many years of outdoor adventure. This summer we don’t have huge plans other than some pretty big hikes with the older kids and a few camping trips. Those camping trips are simple. They are close by. They are cheap, but I know we will be making some of the best memories of our lives. Some of my favorite memories with our kids outdoors are nothing really special, I mean we have some crazy stories to tell from Angel’s landing, trecking the rainforest and caves of Thailand to Kauai’s Napali coastline, but none of them compare to the sweetest sounds of little feet hitting the trail next to us or the wide eyed amazement of finding a new creature. Watching them gaze with astonishment at a magnificent horizon. To watch my children fall in love with the world in front of me is by far my favorite experience. Adventures are definitely apart of our lives, but THEY are the greatest adventure yet.
- Advice for other parents about getting their kids outdoors: It’s hard to keep up a persona of a constant outdoor life. I am more than just an outdoor mom. I am mom who reads books in bed, who cooks, who vegges out on Netflix. My kids are more than just adventure kids. They live in a home full of love, they play with legos, they play sports, they are ballerinas, and brothers and sisters. Instagram and these social networks are wonderful ways to meet friends, to feel inspired and away to be creative, but sometimes they don’t show the messy, the real and that is what I enjoy seeing and being. When you create an environment that is relatable it’s easier to connect. It’s refreshing and inspiring. Life is a journey and we are all a wild child on our own adventure trail. Whether it be learning to tie your kindergartener’s shoe, planting a garden or on the cliffs of Kauai. I look forward to seeing each and every family trail and like REI says every trail connects…I candidly think we connect. I have met so many cool people out there from all over the world. Although I want to share our love of the forest…there are still these folks behind the scenes. These real folks who live real lives. Thus I created forestnfolk. I figured if I’m not one’s cup of tea (adventure feed) then they can move on, but as for my tribe we ride real….
If you look up the definition of wild it says it is living or growing in a natural environment. If we raise wild children to play outside in a natural environment they will flourish. They will develop a since of belonging with their environment and appreciate and want to take care of it as well as grow up to be adults who install the same behaviors in their children an so on. Their natural environment can be anywhere from the forest, park or right in their very own back yard. It feels natural to be in an environment outdoors because we were made to be apart of it. I love meeting wild children big and small. I love being a wild child and I love raising wild children. Here’s to all the wild childs across the globe. May they run, may they be messy and may they be real.”