Hiking With Kids – 9 Amazing Things You Can Both Learn
Hiking is a great activity for the entire family.
Spending time outdoors allows you to soak up fresh air and sunshine. And beyond that, spending time in nature is known for its physical and mental health benefits.
It is a perfect getaway from the busy modern world for you and your little ones.
Take a break from your electronic devices and gadgets and connect with each other in a natural setting.
This also gives youngsters a chance to form a lifelong connection with the environment.
Educational Effects of Hiking
Kids can learn a lot about nature and wildlife while hitting the trails. Caring for the environment and following the leave no trace principles are the basics.
You can teach the little ones about plants and animals in a particular area you plan to explore together.
Navigating exposed roots and traversing rocks can be challenging.
The little explorers need to engage their motor and cognitive skills to cross a stream or climb over a fallen tree.
When youngsters accomplish what they have set their mind to, it boosts their self-confidence.
A sense of achievement after finishing a challenging route builds perseverance and teaches them the importance of not giving up.
A Great Form of Exercise
There are countless health benefits of outdoor activities.
As we’ve mentioned they enhance kids’ motor skills, and for the adults, there are some amazing cardiovascular benefits of taking a hike. It also improves the muscular and respiratory system, as well as sleep quality.
Hiking helps kids develop balance and agility through climbing obstacles on the trails.
Preparation is the key to any outdoor activity.
With some good planning, it is possible to enjoy spending time outside even in the summer heat or in the harsh, cold winter.
So, make sure to prepare well for hiking in hot weather or other challenging conditions. Especially with kids on board.
Nature’s Impact on Kids’ Well-Being
Being connected with nature has a positive impact on childhood development.
Outdoor play increases physical activity and prevents obesity. Exposure to green spaces can also reduce stress and enhance the cognitive abilities of little explorers.
Children and adolescents who spend more time outdoors are less likely to develop myopia, or in layman’s terms, nearsightedness, studies show.
There are even more benefits to exposing your children to wildlife – it encourages their curiosity.
Spending time outdoors promotes better sleeping patterns in children and adults, as physical activity is beneficial to quality sleep.
The “Sunshine“ Vitamin
There is an easy way to get vitamin D.
Hiking with kids is a great way to spend some quality family time in the sun and get some vitamin D, a crucial nutrient for maintaining a strong immune system.
There is some evidence that supports a link between low vitamin D levels in the blood (and the amount of sunshine we get) and mood disorders, like depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). More reason to go on a hike, a run or a ski trip.
Harmful Effects of Too Much Screen Time
Brain scan research shows that too much screen time can damage the brain.
These effects are especially dangerous in a young, still-developing brain. Excessive screen time can lead to a lack of restorative sleep and a hyper aroused nervous system. Managing your kids’ screen-time is vital for proper brain development.
Spending some time away from the internet, television and communication devices is a matter of mental hygiene. Choosing an outdoor activity, such as hiking, can counteract these negative effects.
Unplug and embrace the mental and physical restoration we get from nature.
Break From the Modern World – Healing Powers of Silence
Living in the modern world often includes sensory overload.
Also, there is this thing called noise pollution. Scientists have explored the effect of noise like road traffic on the physical and mental health of humans. Their conclusions are concerning. Also, there is the question of air pollution and air quality, especially in big cities.
Spending time outdoors gives the whole family a chance to wind up and enjoy some “quiet time“ and breathing some fresh, unpolluted air. Listening to the birds chirping and the wind blowing through the leaves can have a calming, balancing effect.
According to a Psychology Today article, we need silence to live a stress-free life. Information overload, also known as data smog can clog our ability to function effectively, not to mention lead to stress and cardiac problems.
Some time away from the usual city noise can be healing, and that’s another huge benefit from hiking in the nearby woods.
Fun & Quality Family Time
Is there a greater playground for the little ones than dirt, rocks, and grass?
Hiking is a perfect opportunity for the kids to engage directly with nature. They get a chance to personally explore the wildlife.
More and more people are embracing community movements like Hike It Baby, which has arisen from one woman’s desire and determination to help get other parents on the trail together.
This worldwide tribe of nature walkers now has more than 125,000 families in 277 cities in the U.S. the HIB’s mission is to connect families with babies and young children with the outdoors and each other.
Communities like this one allow families with kids to engage together while spending some quality time in a restorative natural environment.
Tips & Tricks to Engage Children Along the Trail
- Let your kids lead the way. Stay alert for dangerous terrain.
- Stop and explore with your little ones when they show an interest in an animal or a rock.
- Items like magnifying glass and binoculars help your kids interact with nature better.
- Engage all the senses. Breathe in the smells of nature, listen to the sounds and talk about your experiences along the way.
Hiking with your kids is healthy and inexpensive. So what’s stopping you from putting a pair of hiking shoes on and hitting the trail?