On Dadventures – Alex Gregory on being a Dad

June 10, 2018

What is it that we remember the most about our childhood?

What is it that we remember the most about our childhood? I hear the same answers so often now. “I remember disappearing off across the fields all day” or “I remember climbing trees”, then “kids don’t do that now” – and there’s the killer line. Of course, it’s not entirely true, some do, but certainly not as many as when we were kids or when our parents were young and that’s where Dadventures comes in.

Dadventures is a book full of ideas for parents and guardians to make their way back to the times we once knew. It’s about balancing up our modern lives with fun, interesting and sometimes unusual activities outdoors, so that necessary skills and knowledge are still developed in this ever more sedentary life. Dadventures is not about the removal of technology and screens, that world needs to be learnt, and navigated by our young, but it’s still possible to balance both aspects of a young person’s life.

It was while floating, hundreds of miles from land in any direction, with ice-cold waves rearing up around, bashing our tiny ocean rowing boat like a cork, that I was forced to truly contemplate life. I was a part of an Arctic rowing expedition where we were breaking new waters. No one had done what we were doing, we rowed further North than anyone has been recorded before, we floated alongside whales and navigated through truly beautiful unseen ice floes. But we also walked the thin tightrope between life and death. A capsize in those unpredictable waters would be the end.

It was at this point I realised that my kids didn’t care that I was some brave explorer getting world records in the Arctic ocean, they just wanted me home with them, climbing a tree, going for a walk and having a camp fire. We all work so hard to provide, we forget to give children what they really want, which more than anything we can offer them, is our time.

Dadventures is divided into chapters based on time. Within each chapter there are activities that can be done within that time frame at little or no cost, the most important thing is that people are getting outside and spending time together. Nothing has to be perfect, everything can and should be adapted to suit the reader’s needs. If something doesn’t go right, which it often doesn’t for us, then it doesn’t matter! Making memories outside together, whether it’s an after school Adventure, a Half-Day Experience or an Overnight Expedition, is the aim of Dadventures and I hope it brings families a great deal of enjoyment.

So, this Father’s Day get outside and enjoy time together with your children making some of those simple but long-lasting memories.


Alex Gregory

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Harper Non-Fiction


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