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Are you looking for a way to get your kids away from screens? Want a kid-friendly workout program? Wishing you had more quality time with your family? Good news! There is a simple answer to all of these questions: go on a hike and take your kids with you! When you go hiking with kids, you will discover that you get much more out of the experience than you put into it. Here are 5 reasons why you should go hiking with kids.
Reason #1: No Screens!
Hiking with kids is a fun way to get them to put down the screens. You can’t walk (much less hike) when you are focused on a video game. Many of the best hiking trails have little to no cell phone service, so your teens won’t be tempted to text their friends during your outing. While your children may grumble at first about leaving behind their precious screens, once you get going, they will forget all about them. To curb the whining about being out in the boonies, let them take a selfie or two that they can post to social media after they get back home.
Reason #2: Family Bonding
Getting your family doing the same thing at the same time is the key to creating quality time. Hiking with kids is a great way to do this. When everyone is working towards the same goal, they will create memories without even realizing it. Being out in nature removes all other distractions so your family can focus on each other. Before long, you will notice your family talking and laughing together. Keep it up and you may find your kids actually looking forward to the next family hike!
Reason #3: Exercise
Let’s face it: most of us need more exercise in our lives. Hiking with kids is a fun way to get moving without feeling like it’s work. Start easy and then slowly move up to more challenging hikes as your family (and your body) are ready. Not only is hiking good for your cardiovascular system, it’s an easy way to build up those leg muscles and improve your core strength and balance. Who doesn’t want to look more toned? Personally, I hate exercise but always feel stronger and more energized after hiking.
Reason #4: Teach an Appreciation of Nature
Nothing compares to the beauty of nature. Yet, we are all so busy these days that we usually don’t stop to even notice it. Taking your family on hikes will help you to appreciate the awesomeness of nature. Getting your kids out on hikes will help them see what a wonderful playground nature is.
Hiking with kids also gives you a chance to teach your children a ton of lessons. Talk about the different plants you see and their purpose. Explain the circle of life to them. Encourage them to protect the environment by picking up trash. Point out the importance of clean, fresh water as you pass a stream or lake. Discuss climate change as you hike near the coastline.
Reason #5: Boost Self Confidence
Self confidence is an invaluable gift to give to your children. Letting your kids lead the way while hiking can give their self confidence a major boost. Doing the same hike over time can also bolster that self confidence by reminding them how things that were challenging the first time are now easy for them on the 10th hike. Hiking with kids can help them to overcome their self-doubt. It can instill in your kids a firm belief in their ability to conquer obstacles.
The first time we took our son on a hike, he was scared of falling and getting hurt. Now, a year later, we have to remind him not to run off and leave us! Hiking has helped him come out of his shell. He has a self confidence now that he never had before.
Where to Hike
If you are fortunate to live near a national or state park, taking a family hike can be a easy day trip for you. If you live further away, look for a local park, botanical garden, or nature preserve to start your hiking adventures. Plan a weekend trip to a state park to do some more challenging hikes. Consider planning your summer vacation to a national park, like Yellowstone or Grand Canyon, to do some major hiking.
Hiking with kids is a wonderful way to create lifelong family memories while getting some exercise and boosting your children’s self confidence all at the same time. If you haven’t considered hiking before, definitely take some time to think about it and try out a short hike with your family this weekend. For more tips on hiking with kids, check out Exploring Footsteps. Now, go take a hike with your kids! Happy travels!