Do you love to hike?
Taking to the trails is a great way to introduce youngsters to the benefits of fresh air and the natural world.
Here are five hikes to enjoy together:
Spending time outside matters.
This revelation, underscored in a study by the Girl Scout Research Institute ("More Than S'mores"), doesn't surprise me.
The report suggests that girls who spend time outside regularly surpass their peers who spend less time in fresh air in environmental stewardship, they readily seek more challenges and are better problem-solvers.
Other findings include:
Spending time outdoors in nature is different from playing or learning inside.
Here’s how . . .
Outdoor spaces support physical play. Unlike most indoor environments, the outdoors offers open space where children are able to be messy, make noise, and move in more physically intense ways.
This allows them to develop their movement capability and confidence—both of which create foundations for physically active lifestyles and general health (Little & Wyver, 2008; SPARC, 2009).
Time in nature promotes attention restoration.
Spending time in nature (even just a walk in a park) has been shown to improve concentration and creative reasoning among children and adults, including those with attention deficits (Atchley, Strayer, & Atchley, 2012; Taylor & Kuo, 2009; Berman, Jonides, & Kaplan, 2008).
Nature provides novelty and challenge, which enhance leadership.
Outdoor experiences often place girls in new physical, psychological, and social situations that motivate curiosity and foster a sense of discovery. Authentic challenges in nature (think . . . starting a fire in the rain or negotiating a set of whitewater rapids) require girls to become more self-aware and to cooper- ate, communicate, and solve problems more effectively (Rickinson et al., 2004).
For me and for my children, outdoor experiences have always been healthy, enriching and expansive in every way.
Our favorite family vacations have included river rafting, hiking, fly fishing, and camping.
What role does outside activity play in your family?
I have always wanted to visit one of the 10th Mountain Division huts tucked high within Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. Named to honor the men of the 10th Mountain Division of the US Army who trained during World War II in Central Colorado, the system of 29 backcountry huts are connected by 350 miles of suggested routes.