Kids need the outdoors. They need wild places to run and pretend — where they can be, simply, kids.

As parents, we know this — little children just aren’t meant to be cooped up inside all day.

This video shows one boy as he counts down his favorite things about rivers

If you have kids, you know that outside time is important. Especially river time. Of course, a weekend on the North Umpqua or a float on the John Day isn’t always possible, because… work, laundry, groceries, diapers, naps, life. But we should try. There are days we don’t get beyond the front yard, but sometimes exploring our old walnut tree, following bugs through the grass, and watching crows flying overhead is its own fantastic adventure.

When we get outside, we’re all happier.

When we’re outside, we get to bond as a family in new ways. Kids open our eyes to new perspectives. We’re away from screens and other distractions. Being outside helps all of us.

So here’s to getting outside with our kids every day, rain or shine, whether it’s a camping trip or a simple walk around the neighborhood. Here’s to letting our kids be kids, and to enjoying the magic and beauty of fresh air and clean water together.