Book Review: Outdoor Parents Outdoor Kids-Guide to getting your kids active in the great outdoors by Eugene Buchanan

When the book ‘Outdoor Parents, Outdoor Kids’  first caught my eye at an REI over the holidays it took me a few minutes to decide whether or not I really wanted to read another book about taking kids on outdoor adventures.

Since morphing into a Mom I’ve discovered that it’s actually pretty easy to drag my kiddo out on the trails. I clothe him, feed him, water him, attach him to some sort of transportation device (baby carrier or chariot) and we’ve got ourselves an adventure.  I wasn’t sure if I wanted or needed  more “how to”…get your kids outside advice–hence my skepticism when I picked up Buchanan’s book.

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However, when I opened up this book I was thoroughly entertained from introduction to conclusion. At times I was laughing so hard that I was crying and trying not to pee my pants. This book is not a boring lecture or guilt trip (hello Louve) about the importance of exposing kids to the wilderness. Nor is it a pep talk for parents who may be squeamish about taking a kid into the mountains. This is the story of a Dad, his 2 daughters and the adventures that they have together. Their adventures are more than just hiking, skiing, climbing, paddling and camping. Buchanan even goes into teaching your kid to ride a bike and shares some rather good advice about surviving a swim meet.

Here are a few brilliant ideas that I picked up from Buchanan’s book.

  • When hiking with a kid in a baby carrier attach a mirror with a bungee cord to the carrier’s shoulder strap and use it like a rear view mirror  to spy on your kiddo. How clever, especially for anyone who has ever had their kid’s hat fall off on a hike and not noticed that the hat fell off until their kid was already suffering from a second degree sunburn (that’s me).
  • In deep winter snow stomp out a section of ground for a makeshift play pen to keep a toddler corralled when doing things like selecting the perfect Christmas tree.
  • Encourage games on the trail, games can even be something as silly as throwing a stick up the trail and having your kid fetch it. This only totally amuses me.

And here’s a few killer quotes from Buchanan’s book just so you know how awesome it is.

“Taking the training wheels off is as risky a venture as potty training. It’s like swapping a diaper for underwear. It’s a game of trust, but also Russian Roulette.” (p. 58)

“Some people just plain like to make things harder. These are folks who have four kids instead of two, three dogs instead of one, and make their own pasta instead of whipping out the Top Ramen.” (p. 103)

“Canoes-like some mothers-in-law-are big and cumbersome, you don’t realize this until you’re solo wrestling it in your garage (your canoe, not your mother-in-law).” (p. 180-181)

The entire book is full of witty advice and entertainment and I highly recommend it. I think it’s a gem because it’s written from a father’s perspective. Outdoor Parents Outdoor Kids: A Guide to Getting Your Kids Active in the Great Outdoors is my favorite book on outdoor parenting. You can purchase it by clicking the title above (we are an Amazon affiliate).

Has anyone else read this book? What did you think?

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