Bushwalking (or hiking) is for all ages, from little babies that can be carried, toddlers who can walk and children and teens that can run.
Just this week, in a radio interview on NPR, Stephen Kellert the author and Yale professor 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 must set more balance in their lives. We must set them boundaries with screen time and we must take them outside more often.
Nature counteracts the negative effect of too much time screen time.
What are the benefits of bushwalking with kids?
1. It gets them off out of their house and off of screens.
Many children live in captivity, cooped up between four walls.
Even the backyards built on house lots today are shrinking to a piece of grass that you can’t even roll on.
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 out of finding wild animals in nature. They’re thrilled and completely immersed in the relationship they have with another living thing. Think about the amount of children that have named their own wild lady bug or snail. 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 and as a result, your children will be learning every second they are outside.
4. Going for a bushwalk encourages helps children understand their world.
When I’m bushwalking I have time to think and I 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 and the best part is that it doesn’t feel like exercise!
6. It gives them the opportunity to connect with nature.
You’ll never know every plant, you’ll never know every insect. Nature connection can only continue to grow because there is so much to see, do and learn. Seeing the glory that is 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 out children 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 moment, you throw away the stress and live in the moment.
9. It helps build lifelong skills.
It teaches children to stick to the path, respect the local fauna and flora and it’s also a great place to teach teenagers survival skills.
10. Helps save nature and wildlife.
I’ll leave you with a quote with this point that says it all.
What are some of the added bushwalking benefits that I may have missed?