Adventure is the very epitome of childhood. Kids crave excitement and the freedom to run wild and explore new places. But it’s not always that simple, studies from Europe and the US shows modern children are spending around 8 hours a day sedentary, and spending more time glued to their screens than ever before.
It’s not an easy feat to encourage unwilling minds to enjoy the great outdoors, but sport and adventure go hand in hand. No matter how old your offspring are, there are endless opportunities to ignite passion.
Appeal to their athletic side and introduce exciting sports like mountain biking, wild swimming or snowsports. It’s about as far away from the tired community-centre or bog-standard pool you can get.
It’s time to push the comfort zone boundaries and get the brood excited about adventure again.
For adults, hiking serves a useful purpose, it’s a welcomed distraction from hectic lives, a sense of accomplishment or simply a view from the top.
For kids it’s completely different, it’s an interactive experience, the journey comes from getting there. They’ll be intrigued by anything they encounter en route, aim to peak their interest throughout the journey by choosing a trail that has plenty of features, a gnarly tree to climb, a waterfall or a lake to paddle in.
Kids are born explorers, it’s their natural instinct to be curious about everything.
Plan extra time to allow them to discover the natural world and get their fill of the wilderness all while learning about new and different eco-systems. Once you’ve captured their interest set them off doing some research online about what they’ve discovered during the day, helping structure time spent on the internet.
Create An Engaging Experience
Remember it’s supposed to be a fun activity, they shouldn’t be lagging behind and asking how long is left.
Ultimately, kids don’t care about vistas. But stepping stones? Gold. Stray off the trail and interact with nature, explore the undergrowth, skim stones and find boulders to climb, it makes for a more engaging experience. Find adventure in the tree-tops, high-wire courses are cropping up in forests everywhere, test your family with scaling the course and be proud that you did it as a team.
The natural characteristics of outdoor space presents a host of new challenges for children to work together to solve. Outdoor clubs like scouts help children share knowledge to overcome new challenges, in turn developing confidence, empathy and build lasting relationships.
Bear Grylls, chief Scout at the Scout Association explains “I am really proud that Scouting provides young people with an opportunity to develop the skills they need to be resilient and deal with what life throws at them.”
Geocaching is orienteering redefined and it’s a sure fire way to inject fun into a day out. Combining smart-phones and hiking as an interactive experience will keep the whole brood actively interested and involved.
Geocaching is a modern twist on the traditional treasure hunt, and there are millions of ‘prizes’ hidden all over the world. Simply download the app, create an account and use GPS to start hunting.
Geocaches work on the basis that whatever treasure you uncover, you replace it with something of similar value. Keep your eyes peeled for sealed boxes, hidden but never buried.
Plan For Anything
Good planning goes without saying for all outdoor lovers, whether there’s a child in tow or not. Layers are of up-most importance, likewise for rain clothes, whether it’s raining or not always be prepared for the worst. Wet-wipes, lip-balm, sun cream and binoculars should all top your list of essentials to join the adventure.
Strap the little ones into some decent footwear, either adequate hiking boots or tough sandals depending on the terrain. And always leave a change of clothes in the car – chances are your off-spring will be wet or muddy on the return.
Expect energy levels and attention spans to dwindle throughout the hike, make sure you’re prepared with snacks and treats to keep morale high through-out.
Adventure proves more than just a day out, it’s about getting fresh air while improving focus and fitness. Keep it interesting by changing up your route each time, and make it a tradition for every week so routine is installed and the hike is something to look forward to.
Head off the beaten track and unearth new places, there’s a whole world out there waiting to be discovered by intrepid minds.