5 Tips for Getting Outdoors with Your Little Ones

By Shannon Leap

Whether you are new to Alaska or new to getting outside with children in tow, spending time outdoors with small children can be challenging and even intimidating. As we all prepare for more daylight and longer hours to play, here are a few tips to help make your outdoor time eco-friendly and easy:

Finding and getting involved with your local babywearing group like Anchorage-Matsu Valley Babywearers and local hiking group like Hike It Baby will give you access to the best tips and tricks all year long. These groups can be much needed sources of education and support for all things babywearing and outdoor play. Plus, getting outdoors with your littles is always more fun if there are friends coming along!

Shannon Leep is the owner of Arctic Baby Bottoms in Wasilla, a one-stop-shop for cloth diapering needs. Visit arcticbabybottoms.com.

Babywear – Babywearing gives parents free hands and infants a safe place to enjoy the outdoors. A baby carrier will also give toddlers a hiking break if needed until they are ready to walk again. Consider babywearing in all climates to expand your family’s outdoor activity options and help little ones get familiar with outdoor play at an early age.

Use reusable water bottles and snack bags – It’s always our goal to leave nothing behind when we are outdoors in Alaska and you can accomplish this easily by using reusable water bottles, snack bags and sandwich wraps. Reusable wet bags are also a great item to have on hand to store dirty or muddy clothes and gear for the whole family. Wet bags are waterproof for those rainy days and help keep dirty items separate from the clean.

Have your little ones carry their own packs – Teach toddlers and preschoolers early on to carry their own packs filled with their reusable lunch items. Carrying their own packs will free up some room in adult packs, teach them about how to be prepared in the outdoors and how to be responsible for their own items. Protip: If you are using reflective clothing or bear bells, you’ll have extra packs to attach safety items to when camping, hiking and fishing.

Dress in layers – It’s always easier to take a layer off than it is to be on an outdoor adventure with a child who’s cold. (That will happen to you exactly once before you become a layering pro!) Wool-based layers will help keep children warm while waterproof layers will help block the wind and keep them dry. Protip: Warm gloves underneath waterproof gloves will let them explore while providing a layer for hand warmers, if needed.

When cloth diapering, use GroVia Bioliners – GroVia Bioliners are a great way to cloth diaper when camping or hiking. Use biodegradable Bioliners on top of any cloth diaper to keep solids contained for easy cleanup. Bioliners are made from 100-percent natural fibers and will keep baby’s skin dry until the next change.