Compared to previous generations, kids today lack exposure to the great outdoors. Many children spend their free time huddled around televisions, watching shows, or playing video games for hours. Trying to figure out ideas on how to peel them away from the screen can seem difficult, but all it takes is teaching them there are other, more beneficial activities out there. One of the most beneficial ways to get kids away from the screen is to incorporate nature into your kid’s life by hiking.
Hiking with your kids isn’t reserved for outdoor enthusiasts. It’s a fun activity that can be enjoyed by any family, and the activity of hiking provides numerous benefits for your kids. With applications and websites that instruct you about trails’ whereabouts, their lengths, how strenuous they are, and what you’ll need for your day there, nothing is stopping you from finding the perfect hiking spot for you and your kids but yourself.
“By combining the physical activity of hiking and the visual stimuli of the nature surrounding your hike, you can teach kids lessons they couldn’t possibly find elsewhere,” says Wild Bunch Desert Guides, a travel company that specializes in hiking tours in Phoenix.
I just got back from a trip to Scottsdale/Phoenix, and I can’t wait to take my kids back there! The scenery is gorgeous!!
Numerous Positive Health Benefits
While hiking of course provides a great way for your family to participate in cardiovascular exercise, researchers have documented numerous other positive health benefits associated with hiking. Hiking is shown to boost your bone density since walking is a weight-bearing exercise. It can help your children build strong bones and muscles. Hiking is also shown to improve people’s overall mood. It can help alleviate anxiety and stress. Being in nature is ingrained in our DNA, and researchers believe that there is a strong yearning to experience some form of nature within all of us because of how beneficial time outdoors is to human beings.
Less Screen Time
Replacing screen time with hiking is incredibly beneficial for your children. In the United States, it’s estimated that kids aged 8 to 18 spend an average of 7.5 hours a day in front of screens. 4.5 of those hours are spent watching television, which adds up to 114 days a year spent watching television for children in the US. Those numbers keep increasing, too, with the constant churning of new video games, television shows, and movies geared towards sucking up the time of children.
Too much screen time is proven to be detrimental to the development of your children as well. Frequent screen time use in children is directly linked to higher rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide. Switching out Saturday morning cartoons for a Saturday morning hike can completely transform your children’s life.
Enjoy Quality Family Time
Hiking is a perfect way to enjoy some quality family time. It encourages your family to focus on each other rather than their surroundings. Regardless of if your family is filled with toddlers or teenagers, there is a hike that perfectly suits you and your family waiting for y’all to explore. Try to encourage a digital-free environment on your hikes.
Tell your kids to leave their phones at home. Your hike is a way to get away from the outside world, teaching your kids this can help them understand the benefits of taking time for themselves and enjoying what nature has to offer.
Provides An Educational Playground
Hiking provides a vast educational playground for your kids. They’re bound to see, hear, smell, and touch things they’ve never encountered before. Think about how you can help encourage their exploration during your hikes as well. Come up with games or brain-boosting activities for them, such as identifying trees or plants along the trail. You can even have them document some of the natural items they come across and research them when they get home.
You’ll want to help educate your kids on the proper protocol when being in nature as well. With more advanced hiking, you can teach your kids basic survival skills. It’s also important to make sure they understand the “leave no trace” objective. You can help them foster respect for nature at a young age that they’ll carry with them forever.
Instilling confidence in your children is important to ensure they’ll go through life staying motivated, involved, and aware. Hiking provides an opportunity for kids to gain self-confidence. While of course, you’ll be there to guide them, hiking can help your kids see the importance of decision-making and being well-educated and aware when making those decisions. Successfully navigating tricky terrain and unknown pathways will help them improve their problem-solving abilities.