Recently I was able to take the trip of a lifetime to Iceland on behalf of Animal Jam and Visit Iceland. Why would an online game for kids want to drag a bunch of bloggers to one of the most remote parts of Iceland?
Well…because we are moms, and moms are role models for their children. Have you ever heard the phrase “If I can see it, I can be it”? Moms have a huge impact on their children. When Moms show their kids that they can get offline and get outside and embrace adventure, they can teach their children to be passionate and inspired by their environment and science.
In short, if your kids see you take on new experiences and that YOU are constantly learning new things, they will do the same. Thus, the #AdventureStartsWithMe hashtag.
Whether you are planning a trip to the zoo, a hike in the mountains, a trip overseas, or settling down with a good book, you are showing your kids how to live an adventurous, curious and life filled with adventure and learning.
As a matter of fact, we’d love you to join our hashtag. Let us know what you are doing with your kids to inspire adventure and a love of the world around them by adding your photos to the #AdventureStartsWithMe hashtag on Instagram. We’d love to see them!
Why Animal Jam?
If you are familiar with Animal Jam then you know they are the world’s largest online social network for kids. Their passion is inspiring kids to learn about the natural world around them through interactive gameplay and offline activities that engender their curiosity about the sciences.
Can an online game encourage offline adventure? A love of science? YES! Here’s how:
- Animal Jam has an in-game Journey Book where kids find and collect cool facts about animals and environments in Jamaa (the world where everything in Animal Jam takes place). Help find fun critters in Kimbara Outback or in the Coral Reef!
- Visit Brady Barr’s Lab or Tierney Thys’ Aquarium where you can watch videos of these scientists out in the field and even submit your own questions for them to answer in future videos.
- Want even more videos? Subscribe to Animal Jam’s YouTube channel to catch up on their Wild Explorers series featuring fun crafts, science experiments, and animal facts. Our favorite? Ten Facts about Goats!
- Extend the fun offline with Animal Jam Academy – a free resource center full of science based crafts and experiments. Set screen-time privileges as a reward for completing fun science activities!
When we were in Iceland we were able to do some really fun and adventurous things. My kids were so excited for me to go on this adventure…and a little bit envious they were not coming along.
So how do you help your kids to become more adventurous? Here are 9 tips to help your children develop an adventurous spirit.
1. Inspire curiosity by being curious yourself.
The most important part of prioritizing the natural world is to give your child the gift of enthusiasm. A parent’s excitement is contagious to her children, and when we show awe in nature, our children follow suit. Take the position of a learner — be open to learning new things; after all, no one can possibly be an expert on everything. Encourage questions you don’t know the answer to: “I don’t know! Let’s find out together,” is a wonderful way to get your kids asking questions. Be open to a mutual adventure and allow your curious inner child to come out while you explore nature with your children.
2. Enjoy nature without other distractions.
Resist the urge to micromanage your child’s experience in nature. Forget about “teaching moments,” just show up and observe. Find a spot near a pond or creek and encourage your child to wait and observe. If you are still and quiet, you may observe nature uninterrupted; the frogs may reappear at the edge of the pond, the birds and squirrels may start to return to their work. If you are with a very young child, follow his or her lead. Let your child explore underneath stones and dig in the mud. Early exposure in nature is less about learning facts and more about the senses and joy.
3. Limit electronic devices while driving in the car when possible.
If you have to carpool in the morning, turn off the devices and instead encourage your children to look out the window. Talk to your children about what they can see outside the car window. Discuss the scenery and the wildlife you may see around you. Help them to learn observation skills.
4. Seek out natural, untouched spaces and visit them often.
A suburban field, edge of a forest, or even a small ravine at the end of the street can be teeming with wildlife and spaces to observe and explore. Returning to the same spot throughout the seasons will allow for observations of change and cycles of life. You may be surprised at just how much nature you can find in these little unexpected places.
5. Make time for unstructured outdoor play.
Studies have shown that on average children can spend up to 45 hours a week being entertained by electronic devices. We can reduce some of that screen time and replace it with nature exploration and unstructured play time outdoors. Try spending less time watching a screen use and go outside and be in nature with your child.
6. Read about nature with your child.
Want to encourage and inspire? Check out books from your local library that are colorful with nature language and adventure. Better yet, read them outside.
8. Look at the stars.
Drive out of the city in the early morning or late evening hours for your own stargazing. Take some blankets and your telescope or binoculars. Stargazing offers a deeper, more expansive understanding of the infinite. Allow yourself to think about it, and talk to your children about that wonder.
9. Go on adventures.
Get out and explore your hometown. Take a trip to see nature in other areas of the country if you can. Go see new things, meet new people, eat different foods, enjoy areas of nature you haven’t seen before. Teach your children to love trying new things and they will learn to love being adventurous!
Want a chance to win an adventure of your own to Iceland?
Enter to WIN an Icelandic Adventure!
One lucky winner can win:
- 2 Round Trip Tickets From WOW Air
- 1 Gregory Moonrise Backpack For Your Adventures
- $2000 From Animal Jam to use towards your accommodations and other travel expenses
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