Kids need adventure and excitement; unfortunately, they rarely get it in our modern world, except when playing online games such as Minecraft and Roblox. Recently my eleven-year-old son and I watched the 1960 movie Swiss Family Robinson. My son said, “Life would be a lot more exciting if I had things to do like they’re doing.” This got me thinking about what parents can do to help our kids to have the adventures they crave and get them off screens.

The Need for Adventure Isn’t Limited to Boys

The need for adventure is built into the DNA of boys, but the desire for adventure isn’t limited to boys. It does explain why our sons are more prone to jump off things, wrestle each other, and gravitate to online gaming more than our daughters. Online gaming offers a virtual adventure where kids can have battles, build their own worlds, rule their own “kingdoms,” and feel the excitement of danger. But online adventures are a pale substitute for real life.

Girls need adventure just as much as boys do. Without adventures to give them a place to test their abilities and hone skills, they can get overly focused on superficial things and get caught up in the web of social media.

One activity my son enjoys is his weekly  homeschool Parkour class. He loves jumping off high objects, walking on thin fence rails, and honing his strength, flexibility, and spatial sense through the various activities his instructor leads for the group of boys and girls each session. Parkour fills that need for adventure and risk-taking with safety and supervision.

I’ve been talking with the other parents at Parkour about this need for kids to have challenging activities. All of the parents agreed that it’s something they need but it’s hard to fulfill. We decided to start an adventure club with each parent taking a turn planning an outing or activity for the group.

Adventure Activities

Adventure activities are those that meet certain needs or teach certain skills. John Spacey, in his post 77 Examples of Adventure Activities says that, “Adventure activities are activities that involve calculated risk taking in an uncontrolled environment.” 

Those various activities may require previous instruction to do the activities safely or require certain supplies or equipment, so in some cases advance planning will be necessary.

If you want to plan adventure outings for your child and their friends, you may be scratching your head for some ideas to get started.

The online publication Your Teen for Parents has a great post titled 13 Fun and Easy Microadventures for Teens and Families that is a great start. 

An advantage of planning activities yourself is that you can control the cost and time commitment required to participate in these activities. As a homeschooling parent who works from home, I appreciate being able to give my child the opportunity to challenge himself and not have to take hours away from home.

If you and your kids aren’t up for planning adventure activities yourself, many youth organizations already offer things that you can plug into and you may not have to be a part of that organization. For example, Boy Scouts of America offers Family Adventure Camps at several locations throughout the U.S for Scouting families and non-Scout families alike.

One activity we’re interested in trying is Orienteering. “This is a sport of navigating using a highly detailed map,” says Orienteering USA

Many folks these days don’t know how to use a map as I recently discovered on a visit to the famous French landmark, Pere Lachaise Cemetery, which has approximately one million graves and covers 110 acres. I wanted to see the grave of American singer and songwriter Jim Morrison and used my old school map reading skills to find it, which impressed my non-map reading companion.

Back to orienteering- you don’t need any equipment to get started because you can usually borrow equipment at an orienteering event. They’re timed events and there are a variety of orienteering events across the U.S.

What Are the Benefits of Adventure Activities?

When we get our kids involved in adventure activities, they gain a myriad of benefits. They develop self-sufficiency, confidence, and become problem solvers- all abilities which they take with them into adulthood. They develop friends in the real world, which gets them off of screens and helps them to socialize in a healthy way. As the parent facilitating these activities, you will reap the same benefits that your kids do. I don’t know about you, but I need adventure activities and socialization just as much as my son does.

Get Out There!

Kids need adventure, so it’s incumbent upon parents to make the time and effort to get our kids out of the house and into the world as soon and as often as we can. And don’t worry, this won’t take away from your homeschooling, rather it will enhance it and expand it! Some homeschooling families travel the world while homeschooling, talk about an adventure!

So get out there with your kids and friends and have some adventures! Happy Homeschooling!