10 + Secrets to Enjoying Time in the Woods

By: Martianne Stanger

It’s no secret that I love getting myself and my family outside and that the woods is one of my favorite places to be.

What seems to be a secret to some, though, is just how to get a family outside and enjoying the woods.

Yep. For I have had people ask me what my secret is.

How do you get everyone out?

How do you get them to stay?

What do you do in the woods?


Seriously, I get asked these questions.

So, let me take them one by one.

How do you get everyone out?

Um, I don’t.

Sometimes, I go to the woods myself. Sometimes, I just take one or two of my children. And, yes, sometimes, I take our whole family. And, sometimes, when I do that, there is hemming and hawing, bribing with hot apple cider, the promise of sweet treats. Enticing with the knowledge a friend might meet us on the trails… Okay, even threats, “You will not have a single minute more of screentime until you spend at least thirty minutes in nature!”

Yes, I enjoy being out in the woods, but not everyone in my house always does and there are times when it is not all acorns and sunshine getting everyone out.

How do I get them to stay?

Well, I already mentioned the top three ways: (1) Drinks. (2) Food. (3) Friends. And, the less positive way – um, threats.

But, all bribing and bad parenting aside, typically, once the kids and I are out in the woods, things get better and I don’t have to do much to keep us out for a period. The woods themselves provide enough fodder for fun – or at least fun enough to make it 30 minutes, sometimes hours.

What do we do in the woods?

And that’s where what we do comes in…

The real secrets to enjoying time in the woods is what we do in the woods – which, in short, is be present!

At length, it is:

1. Bounce on fallen logs.

2. Scale trees.

3. Test natural bridges.

4. Get silly conquering obstacles.

5. Check out root systems.

6. Swing from vines.

7. Listen for Star Wars” sounds when tossing rocks onto freezing waters.

8. Enjoy sunsets between trees and over water.

9. Revisit special (to you) spots.

10. And – haha – climb the walls: outdoor ones, not in.

There’s so much adventure awaiting in the woods. Do what it takes to get out there and the woods will do the rest.


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