I've been asked a few times for tips on being an adventure mom, so I thought about it some. With the caveat that all this probably depends on your particular brand of children, here's what I think you should consider if you're interested in taking small kids on outdoor adventures:
1. It takes practice. We took Nico camping for the first time when he was 20 months old. Elliott went on his first trip at eight months. My kids have literally been camping their whole lives.
2. If it's not easy at first, it's okay. For the first two years we camped with Nico, bedtimes were miserable. I'd lay in the tent with him for over an hour, missing nearly all the socializing with our grownup friends, waiting for him to stop thrashing and fall asleep. I was often not as patient as I should've been. The whole cycle repeated with Elliott, though I don't remember it lasting as long. This weekend at ages three and six, they fell asleep within ten and twenty minutes of being zipped into their sleeping bags and slept right through the night. If you have tried camping with your little kids and it was really hard, that is normal. Once you can think about it without wanting to drink / cry, try it again. Eventually you'll get there.
3. Have realistic expectations. Two years ago, we camped at this weekend's spot. We went out on a hike with the friends we were camping with, and after an hour and a half, we bailed and went back to the campsite to take naps while our friends kept hiking. This year, I still can't believe it, my little kids hiked five miles. And I had Elliott's carrier in my backpack the whole time in case he couldn't walk the whole way.
4. Take some stuff to keep them busy at the campsite - coloring books or dump trucks or sand pails...something. Let them get filthy if they want to - it's camping. We don't even take showers when we camp for a weekend. Everyone smells; no one cares.
Most of all, you know yourself and you know your kids...my kids and I do best when we are out, away, and gone for most of a day. We don't do well staying in the house for more than half a day. Adventure parenting is totally my jam, and adventure kid-ing is definitely theirs. So, that's what I've got. Maybe it's helpful? I hope so. If not, here are some cute kid photos to make up for it:
We did not attempt it. Maybe in two more years. Or ten.
Here are some bonus pumpkin patch photos, also. We visited on the 16th and it was very nice.