How getting outside can bring out the explorer in your kid

Plus 20 fun activities that will inspire curiosity and self-confidence

Whether your children are more into Lewis and Clark or Luke Skywalker, they can learn important life skills from explorers. Observation, creativity, self-confidence, and curiosity are traits that all adventurers share. And getting your kid out into nature—whether as a daily boredom buster or part of a "staycation"—is a great way to foster these qualities for life. Here are 20 outdoor ideas to nurture your kid’s natural explorer.

Be tree detectives. Have them observe and collect visual clues (so no tree is harmed) like leaf shape and size, bark color and texture, and whether the tree has flowers or cones. Then using an old-school tree field guide, let kids solve the mystery of what kind of tree it is. (Here's a kid-friendly guide for getting started.)

Create a neighborhood map. Roll out a piece of butcher block paper so kids can draw in the trees, houses, yards with big dogs, and other landmarks they observe on expeditions (i.e. neighborhood walks). Mapmaking requires attention to detail and encourages kids to focus on what’s around them.

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