Ever since we had kids, we knew that we wanted to raise outdoor children. And as you might guess, that means we do a decent amount of hiking. In all the states that we’ve lived, we’ve found our favorite spots to return for routine hikes, as well as explored many new areas. It’s been amazing to see so many beautiful areas of God’s Creation. And we love sharing this with our kids. So here are some reasons to hike with kids.
1. They Get to Experience God’s Creation First Hand While Hiking
We believe that wellness encompasses the mind, body, and soul. If we are teaching them only about Bible stories and proper morals, then we are missing a huge part of cultivating faith (even though those are necessary, too!). By getting out into nature they get to experience His handiwork firsthand. Instead of just learning about the story of Creation, it comes alive to them. Almost every single time that we get out on a hike, one of the kids finds something interesting within nature that fascinates them and it gives us an opportunity to share with them about how God created all of the beauty we see around us. Oftentimes when we are out on a walk, one of the kids will say something along the lines of, “Look at the pretty flower! God made that too, Mommy, didn’t He?” Instead of a pretty story from the Bible, they get to see everything first hand and alive.
2. Hiking Strengthens the Bond of Family
It can be very hard to find activities for families to ALL do together. Hiking can be done no matter the age. One of our favorite reasons to hike with kids is that it’s something we do as a family, completely together. It’s where some of our best conversations take place because there is no electronic, wall, or activity that is separating us. We are simply outside, hiking, and enjoying nature. Hiking is without a doubt our “happy place.”
3. Hiking Fuels Observation
In this day and age, our lives are often cluttered. Cluttered with activities, things, and a big list of things to do. It makes it hard to really develop observation and other healthy mindfulness skills when there is so much going on. We are often distracted and unfocused. On the trail, we notice the children all have sharper senses. Their minds are engaged and clear, and they can truly observe and communicate. This is so healthy for their minds – and it is delightful to be around!
4. Our Kids are Happier when They are Hiking
A huge reason to hike with kids is that they are happier. We were not created to be stuck inside 4 walls and playing video games. We were designed to explore and be enraptured by nature. When the kids are outside, running free through the Alaska wilderness, THAT is when they are happiest. If you don’t believe me, hang around our house sometime. I guarantee you someone will ask to either go hiking or camping. They love being outdoors in nature, and I think it’s because they feel healthier and happier. With the little ones’ sensory sensitivities, especially Jed and sensory processing disorder, finding ways to help them be content and calm is huge. Jed knows that he feels happiest when he is in nature, so he in particular will ask to get out in this way.
5. Hiking is Wonderful Exercise for Children
This is fairly obvious, but it’s still worth noting. One of my other reasons to hike with kids is it is great exercise. And most of the time, they don’t even realize they are exercising. They are far too busy looking for bugs, playing like they are explorers, looking for the perfect stick, or pointing out wildlife to realize they have been walking or running along for 3 miles. Jed and Jules are also in physical therapy to help them with balance, coordination, and strengthening. Every time we go on a hike is a version of physical therapy. What could be better than an enjoyable version of physical therapy for your children?
There Are So Many Reasons to Hike With Kids
There are so many other reasons to hike with kids. And truly, every family will have a different reason. But I can promise you that it is worth it. There are so many health benefits for the mind, body, and soul to get out into nature. I’d love to hear what your favorite reasons are for getting outdoors! And if you are looking for a winter activity to do with kids, check out my post Cross Country Skiing with Toddlers.