Four ways to ruin a perfectly good adventure

Are you tired of having fun?

Want to make sure that your kid’s whining is justified?

Do you hope to spend your whole spring and summer on the couch and you want to ensure your kids are on that page with you?

If so, good news. I have collected my best ideas for completely ruining any adventure in any season and I am now offering them to you, for free, right here. That’s right! Hiking, fishing, skiing, canoeing, general fun-having…any of these can be successfully ruined by the ideas on the list below. I have personally tested all of these suggestions at one point or another and I can promise you this: they work. So if you are done having fun, just choose any of these options to completely destroy a good time. Or go for a full whine and try all of them at once! Your kids’ dissatisfaction is guaranteed.

Let’s get to it.

1) Stick to the plan

You’ve made a plan. You’ve mapped out your day. You’ve got an agenda. Now, do not under any circumstances deviate from it. Do not explore that side trail that looks inviting. Do not stop to listen to the birds or scout for wildflowers. Do not wander off to check out the view or change fishing spots if you are striking out. You organized an outing and dang it, it is your solemn duty to death march your way through precisely as planned and get to the end of the adventure as quickly as possible.

I didn't stick to the plan, let this hike turn into a rock climb and what happened? She had a good time. I did it all wrong.

I didn’t stick to the plan but instead let this hike turn into a rock climb and what happened? She had a good time. I did it all wrong.

2) Don’t prepare

Forget the map. Or water. And certainly don’t bother with a snack. Nothing says “bad time” like hungry and thirsty kids wandering lost around the wilderness. If you are climbing a mountain, wear flip-flops instead of sneakers. If you are going to a tide pool, forget the rubber boots. No matter the weather, make sure everyone is dressed just a little too warm or a little too cool. Summer is coming, so this is a perfect time to practice forgetting the sunscreen. It’s a bit of a slow pay-off, but the after-effect will be memorable. And if you really want to cut the trip short, forget the bug spray. The mosquitoes will be happy do the dirty work for you.

3) Pick the wrong challenge level

Don’t try anything new. Don’t push anyone’s boundaries. Challenges lead to confidence and confidence leads to kids who want to do more hard things and that’s what we are looking to avoid. So go ahead. Take your tweener down a fire road and make sure you tell them to be careful with every step. Or instead, you could pick something way too difficult. Make your three-year-old ski a black diamond or take your kid who is afraid of heights rock climbing.  Whichever you choose, make it too long. If you choose a short adventure, it might be over before they really have a chance to settle into their complaining. Four to five hours is a perfect length and if you followed my advice in #2 and forgot the food and water, it will seem even longer.

On the other hand, this adventure looks like it was properly ruined.

For example, this adventure looks like it was properly ruined.

4) Screen time for everybody

If all else fails and they start to have a good time despite your best worst efforts, get those phones out. After all, the average kid today spends seven hours staring at a screen, so you need to do your part to encourage that behavior. Take pictures and post them right away. Start texting friends about getting together later. If your signal is strong enough, hop online to research the plants you are seeing and lecture everyone about them. Ideally, everyone will have their own phone and can do all of these things simultaneously. Remember, the goal is complete and total disconnection from the people and landscape around you. Whatever you do, don’t stay in the moment. That sounds awfully close to contentment and who has time for that these days?

There you go. My four very best ways to ruin any time outdoors. If you try all of these but don’t manage to mess up the day, you must have found some very, very special adventure indeed.

Please let me know what it is.

Cherie Galyean

About Cherie Galyean

In a perfect world, Cherie Galyean would spend hours every day chasing her kids up hiking trails, pretending to garden, and baking things. Instead, she works full-time in the non-profit sector and fits those other things in-between loads of laundry in her free time. A Maine native with multiple hometowns, she currently lives on Mount Desert Island with her husband, seven-year-old daughter, five-year-old son, and the best shelter mutt in the world.