Have you been wondering how to entertain your kids now that so many traditional play centers, movie theaters, and museums are closed?
Do you get fed up with the amount of time they are spending on screens?
Well, there’s a simple solution: spend more time outdoors!
Jonathan Young was our very first LonoLife ambassador. An active outdoors Utah resident, Jonathan loves to explore nature and take others along for the ride. He even launched his own small-scale guiding company, taking passionate adventurers into the depths of the Grand Canyon to explore its beauty and history.
But for Jonathan, nothing quite compares to the joy of sharing the great outdoors with his own family, his wife Jessica and his four young boys. As he explains, “If we understand how we connect to nature, I think it’s easier to connect with people.”
Jonathan discovered the happiness of being outside in nature with his own mother, who “instilled the value of being outdoors and connecting with what it has to offer.” He is now passing on that tradition to his own children — four boys between the ages of four and eleven — and you will often find him and his whole crew heading out on day hikes, spending an afternoon kayaking, or camping out under the stars.
We checked in with Jonathan to ask about the ups and downs of taking four kids outdoor-adventuring, how he’s managing to keep them entertained during this pandemic, and to find out what tips he has for the rest of us packing up and hitting the trails with kids in tow.
How do we make sure our kids are seeing what’s important in life even in these uncertain times?
Getting outside connects you to something bigger. Whatever you believe in, nature helps connect you to it. I see that it calms my boys too. The outdoors is a safe place for us, and it’s why we go on as many adventures as we can. But sometimes we think doing something cool has to be this big event or involve big trip planning, but it really can be spontaneous… If you’re looking to have a great day outside, just head out to the hills!
Has the pandemic and the resultant restrictions in place affected how you and your family adventure outside?
Yes and no. Of course, we are hindered by not being able to travel far, but that doesn’t stop us as we just explore more locally (Bonus: It benefits your own local economy too.) When we realized we were going to have to scale back our adventures, we purchased more kayaks and have been doing more of that, and we’ve been visiting State Parks close by instead of National Parks as they’ve cut back so much.
What tips and tricks do you have for successfully hiking, adventuring, and exploring the great outdoors with kids?
⇨ Realize they can only go so far. It’s important to remember that young kids have short legs! Sometimes I want to push them and have to realize they are little kids still. They can only climb so many things and hike so far before becoming super tired. Plan ahead for this, whether by bringing an extra carry pack or just know that you are going to end up piggy backing them.
⇨ Break often. Be willing to stop frequently for snacks and drinks. Those can be those moments when you connect with your kids in nature and talk about all the cool things you are seeing.
⇨ Build their self esteem. Praise your kids for how well they are doing and keep motivating them to push a little harder.
⇨ Get a good night’s sleep. Prepare for an active day outside by making sure everyone gets to bed early the night before.
What are three things you never leave home without?
- A backpack. Fill it with everything you need but don’t forget a first-aid kit.
- High energy snacks and drinks. We love jerky sticks and LonoLife Cucumber Lemon Collagen Peptides in water (the protein keeps you going.)
- Preparedness tools. It’s always a good idea to have a knife (or utility tool) and a flashlight, just in case you get stuck outside longer than you planned for or find yourself in a situation where a tool will be helpful.
To follow Jonathan and his family on their adventures, check out @youngutah on Instagram.