Interview: Parenting Expert Colleen Burns on How Families Can Spend Quality Time Outdoors

I recently had the chance to speak with parenting expert, Colleen Burns who shared great tips on how parents can get the kids excited about spending quality time outdoors! 


Screen shot 2011-05-18 at 10.06.07 PMParenting Expert & Media Personality, Colleen Burns


Candace Rose: With summer right around the corner, do you have any budget friendly outdoor activity ideas for moms?

Colleen Burns: Well, just getting outside is so important, get some fresh are and some exercise and those are completely free. Also a really inexpensive thing you can do with your children is to teach them something new, it fosters creativity and a sense of cooperation for them to learn something new, either teaching each other or learning from you. If you're looking for something to teach them, think about the stuff you used to do whether it's pogo sticking or hopscotch or red light/green light or flashlight tag – all inexpensive ways to enjoy the outdoors and to really kind of focus them on learning something new. You can also turn the tables and learn something from them as well, as long as it's not a video game- you know skateboarding, something like that. Remember you're in the moment, so turn off your cellphone and maybe have some water and snacks on hand so you don't have to end the fun too soon.

    There's a website and what it tells you is the trails and the paths and the parks in your community that you might not be aware of. It's definitely going to push you out there and get you to do something outdoors. It's really going to open doors to areas in your community you might not know about and also you can learn about geocaching there which you might have heard of? This is kind of a high tech treasure hunt again using a little technology. Technology can be a good thing as long as you're not plugged in completely, as long as you're not stuck in a dark room. You want to be outside, you want to be enjoying the outdoors and what I like about geocaching is you can be a part of a team with your family. I have five boys from 6 up to 16 and sometimes it's hard to bridge the gap between the oldest and the youngest, but when you can be on a team together kind of for the same goal, that can sometimes help with children, that everyone is enjoying the same thing."


CR: Do you have any tips for preparing a spontaneity bag?

CB: "Spontaneity bags is kind of a phrase I coined because it's something I found out the hard way. Moms end up packing their schedules so tightly sometimes, that when a window opens up of time unexpectedly it almost takes that much time just to get the kids ready and out the door, so you have an hour and it's like wait a minute, by the time we're ready to go now we have something else planned. So a spontaneity bag is a great way, you can keep this by the door or in the car and it has all of those things you know you'll need if you want to go enjoy the outdoors – so sunscreen, bug spray, maybe band-aids and pain relievers (just in case), some antibacterial wipes, you also want to make sure you have fun stuff, frisbees and jump ropes and balls and bubbles but then also some water, plenty of water and then some shelf safe snacks. Shelf safe snacks are a great idea, especially if you can find some without preservatives. Lance sandwich crackers are a great option because they don't have preservatives but they do have protein. Another good thing to have as your energy is slagging in the afternoon is real cheese, real protein – keeps your kids even keeled up through dinner, that's important. And your spontaneity bags can be themed however you enjoy spending time outdoors. So if you know you're going to head for the beach, most of the time you keep your swimsuits and your goggles and your water toys and your towels in there or if you like to go make campfires and grill hot dogs and have marshmallows, put that kind of thing in the bag, certainly can't have hot dogs in there but you can have your marshmallows and your hot dog buns and your skewers, a blanket to sit on but that way when you have a little bit of time you can grab your bag and go."


  Screen shot 2011-05-18 at 9.37.19 PMSpontaneity Bag


CR: Do you have any additional tips or information you'd like to share?

CB: "Sure. You can get more tips from me and watch some videos on some ways to enjoy your time with your children this spring at There's also a chance to win a spontaneity bag there." 


1 Comment

  1. Julia
    May 20, 2011 / 10:00 pm

    I LOVE the Traillink idea!!! We need to use this website to find a good place to walk together!!!! 🙂

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