Microadventures are outdoor adventures that are cheap, simple, short, and effective. Sounds like a simple concept, right? Well, it becomes infinitely more complicated when you consider the fact that we live such busy lives. It’s difficult to find the time to stop and smell the roses, let alone engage in serious adventure activities. The reality however, is that adventure is almost as important to us as the air we breathe – especially for children. Outdoor adventure teaches us a multitude of essential life skills, like problem solving and conflict resolution – as well as promoting creativity. It’s also a great source of exercise; improves coordination, stimulates imagination, and provides vitamin D – which is great for boosting energy levels, memory, and mood.
Winter, the stuff of (micro)adventure
The great thing about microadventure is that practically everybody has had one. From climbing a tree, and rolling down a hill, to skimming stones and flying a kite - childhood is full of daily adventures that stave off boredom, whilst stealthily preparing us for future greatness. Children can learn much about the environment by exploring the inside of a tree, searching for fossils and bones, visiting a farm, building a raft, and tracking wild animals. They also develop essential social and collaborative skills from playing follow the leader, orienteering and camping (indoors or outdoors).
Winter is probably the best time for a microadventure. Being outdoors in the winter can help strengthen your child’s immune system – and if you’re lucky enough to have snow in your midst, the potential for adventure hits even greater heights! On a snowy day, kids can build snowpeople, make snow angels, and sled down any incline they can find. Simply wrap your kids up in some rainwear and thermals, watch from a safe distance, and let the adventures begin.
Good for the mind, body, and soul
Adventure, in its many forms, has numerous physical and mental health benefits. For example, when you take on an unfamiliar challenge, your brain receives a dose of dopamine – a neurotransmitter linked to reward-motivated activities, which delivers that awesome feeling of accomplishment upon completion. You also get a shot of endorphins that act as a natural painkiller, and serotonin, which helps with mood and sleep.
Never too far away
There aren’t many rules around kids’ microadventures, but doing something is always better than doing nothing. It is also important to consider activities by scale. A hike up the nearest hill might seem like climbing a mountain in the eyes of a child, in the same way that minutes can feel like hours – so try to keep activities short and sweet. Remember, you’re never too far away from a microadventure. If you live near a river and you don’t feel ‘intrepid’ enough to swim during winter (assuming it’s safe to do so), why not try following the river to its source? You don’t even need to travel to do a bit of stargazing at night. If you have little more time, you could even go on a local safari? The possibilities are endless, so if you’re keen to get your kids out into the world, why not let your imagination run free?
Need some inspiration?
If you're all out of creative inspiration (perhaps because you haven't had your fix of adventure...) there are numerous morsels of microadventure at your fingertips. Start by checking your community Facebook pages, which are often great sources for knowing what's going on. Alternatively, rock up to your local library for information about organised events and nature walks happening in your area. If you're feeling particularly bold, visit your local botanical gardens - where there's typically plenty to see and do. Remember, adventure is all around us - so just get out there and start exploring!