How to get your kids off their iPads and into nature

5 easy ways to inspire the entire family to get outside—teenagers included.

Smartphones, laptops, iPads—there’s no shortage of portable screens in the typical North American household. As amazing as technology can be, it also limits face-to-face interaction between families, friends and couples. Staring at a handheld device all day can’t be good for growing eyes, bodies or souls. If you’re looking for outdoorsy ways to inspire a digital detox, we’ve compiled five tips to motivate your family to put down the screens and get outside—beyond turning off the WiFi.

1. Practice what you preach

If you want your kids to put down their phones, you’ve got to put down yours, too. We use our devices for almost everything, from trip planning to taking pictures to winning an argument by fact-checking through Google. It’s refreshing to put away the tech and kick it old-school. Practice having face-to-face conversations and interactions with your family with no screens around, and you might be surprised how much more connected you feel.

2. Create boundaries

Healthy boundaries are a staple in every child’s life. Just like you wouldn’t let them eat an entire cake before dinner, having a time, place and regulated amount of screen-use creates set rules for families to follow. Once these boundaries become habit, it’ll be easier for all of you to get used to a few hours a day without any tech around.

3. Get messy

If your kids are afraid of being scolded for mud-caked clothes, they might be hesitant to throw themselves into the puddles and dirt that typically accompany outdoor activity. Instead, have a set of clothing specifically for those messy outdoor adventures—and encourage them to put their phone away in a dry, safe location inside.

4. Plan an off-grid camping trip

Without cell service, even pre-teens will be forced to put down their iPads and find entertainment elsewhere. Be ready with fishing poles, marshmallow roasting sticks and outdoor adventure gear. Family camping trips offer the opportunity to instill a love of outdoor adventure in your children for the rest of their lives—even in technology-obsessed 2019.

5. Get competitive

Does anything capture a teenager’s attention like the chance to show off? Make getting outside fun with challenges and goals to strive for. Sign up for a race, go geocaching or join explore’s Adventure Challenge Club for weekly, monthly and seasonal outdoor adventure challenges.



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