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Tips & Tricks

Outdoor Adventures for All Ages: Hiking, Camping and More with Foster Children

Getting outside and enjoying nature provides many benefits for children of all ages, especially those in the foster care system. Outdoor activities like hiking, camping, fishing, and more can help improve physical health, mental well-being, relationships, and life skills for foster children. Here are some great ways caregivers can share the outdoors with their foster children. 


Hitting the trails is a simple way to get active outside. Gauge each child’s fitness level and select routes accordingly. Make sure to bring plenty of snacks, water, first aid supplies, sunscreen, and proper footwear. For younger children, choose flat, short trails and be ready for frequent stops. School-age children can hike longer distances with moderate elevation gains. Take breaks to point out plants, animals, scenery, and more. Teenagers may enjoy challenging climbs, photo opportunities, and trailside picnics. Hiking sticks, daypacks, and exploration tools add fun.


An overnight camping trip allows for stepping away from electronics, bonding over campfires, and enjoying stargazing. Start with back garden camping or just one night at an established site. Make sure the tents, sleeping bags and camping gear fit each child. Include their favourite snacks and games and don’t forget to bring torches. Task older kids with meal prep, fire building, and other chores. Tell stories, play music, and try outdoor cooking. Always adhere to park rules, teach wildlife safety, and supervise fully.


Baiting a hook and waiting for a fish to bite builds patience and excitement. Purchase child-friendly rods and tackle and acquire fishing licences as needed. Show the children how to properly cast lines and safely remove hooks. Pack snacks, sun protection and basic first aid in case of minor injuries. Be ready to release most catches back to the water. Younger children may need more hands-on help with casting and reeling. Older youth can learn knot tying and tackle maintenance. Turn shoreside catches into a beachside fish fry.

Outdoor Skills

Developing outdoor skills promotes confidence, resilience, and environmental awareness. Teach shelter building by making lean-tos from sticks and leaves. Light a safe campfire with supervision. Identify animal tracks, bird calls, and edible plants. Learn compass reading and basic orienteering. Cook food over the firepit using foil packets and kebabs. Build self-reliance through wilderness survival lessons tailored to different age levels.

Making Memories

Foster children crave stability, belonging, and good memories. Outdoor adventures provide a break from daily stresses and facilitate positive bonds with caring adults. Make the focus less about hard skills and more about making every child feel welcome, included, and excited. Adapt the activities as needed, stop to enjoy teachable moments, and celebrate accomplishments big and small. Nature outings with foster families can lead to lifelong happy memories. Just be sure to run any overnight stays by your agency, such as Fostering People.

The restorative power of the outdoors is available to foster children of all abilities and backgrounds. With thoughtful planning, caregivers can share hiking, camping, fishing and outdoor fun in a safe, rewarding way. Foster families will deepen connections, improve well-being, and find joy during outdoor adventures together.

Featured Photo by Dino Reichmuth on Unsplash

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