Welcome back to the blog! This time, we’re talking about bushwalking benefits… (hint: there are lots of benefits!)
Bushwalking (or hiking) is for all ages, from little babies that can be carried, to toddlers who can walk, to children and teens that can run.
Just this week in a radio interview on NPR, author and Yale professor Stephen Kellert said that ‘children now spend 52 hours a week on electronic devices and only 40 minutes a week outside.’
52 HOURS A WEEK. That’s horrifying!
As parents who love our children, we really need to ensure that they have balance in their lives when it comes to technology. If we want them to truly thrive, we must set them boundaries with screen time and we must take them outside more often.
Nature – the magic ingredient in pretty much every situation – is a great way to counteract the negative effect of too much screen time.
What are some of the bushwalking benefits your family can look forward to?
1. It gets them out of the house and off of screens.
Many children live in captivity, cooped up between four walls.
Backyards these days are getting smaller and smaller, shrinking to a piece of grass that kids can hardly even roll on. The allure of screens is stronger than ever. This means it is becoming harder to convince kids to spend time outside – bad news!
Getting children outside gives them fresh air, space and freedom. It’s an important reminder to those children who spend a huge amount of time in an online world that our real world is incredible and worthwhile connecting to.
2. It helps children connect with wild animals.
Children gain so much from finding and observing wild animals in nature. They become completely immersed in building a relationship with another living thing. If you’ve ever seen your child form an attachment to a ladybug or caterpillar they found outside, giving it a name and talking to it like a friend, you’ve seen this in action – and it’s completely adorable and lovely to see. Forming connections with wild animals and exploring their natural habitat is a basic childhood right.
3. Bushwalking allows children to use all their senses.
Children will be able to hear, smell, see, and feel the world around them. As a result, your children will be learning and taking in the sights every second they are outside.
4. Going for a bushwalk encourages and helps children to understand their world.
When I’m bushwalking, I have time to think and ask questions about our world. Children do this too.
Understanding the world helps to place where you are in it.
5. It gets the body moving.
We all know it’s important to stay healthy. Going for a bush walk is great for your fitness. The best part is, it doesn’t even feel like exercise!
6. It gives them the opportunity to connect with nature.
You’ll never know every plant, just as you’ll never know every insect. There are just too many out there! Nature connection can only continue to grow – there is so much to see, do and learn. Seeing the wonders of nature drives us to connect with its beauty and understand its harshness.
7. It’s free.
So often we complain that we shouldn’t go anywhere because we can’t afford it, but there’s plenty of free experiences in nature that we can provide for our children.
We found a bushwalking track only 15 minutes from our house – we didn’t even realise it was there.
Find your local national park by looking online or at a local map. Most National parks are free, but you may have to pay a small fee to use some of them.
8. It grows your family bond.
Bushwalking with your family allows you to communicate with one another more easily. You have the time to talk, it’s nice and quiet in the bush, and you’re more relaxed to do so.
Going on a bush walk can bring your family together because, for that hour or so, you throw away the stress of life and just live in the moment.
9. It helps build lifelong skills.
It teaches children to stick to the path and respect the local fauna and flora. It’s also a great place to teach teenagers survival skills.
10. Helps save nature and wildlife.
I’ll leave you with a quote that truly says it all.
Are there any other bushwalking benefits I’ve missed? Feel free to reply and let me know!