Family outdoor activities are important, especially during the summer. Between work, chores, commuting and other commitments, parents today actually spend very little time with their children. According to a 2013 Pew report on Modern Parenthood, the average mom spends about 13.5 hours per week with her children. For fathers, that number is 7.3 hours.
If you were to think about the number of quality hours you spend with your own children, would these numbers reflect your reality too? If so, maybe it’s time to add some outdoor activities in your life that can create more quality moments with your children. According to South University, spending more time with your children will help you to create stronger emotional bonds with them. Make this time even more valuable by teaching them healthy habits like getting outside and staying active.
Spending time outdoors is important for children. In the UK, children are being encouraged to spend at least 30 minutes in the great outdoors, away from their computer and phone screens, according to The Guardian. Here in the States, the American Public Health Association recently published a new guideline that addresses the need for children to spend more time enjoying nature in all her glory. Summer is the perfect time to make memories with your family in nature. Whether it be a day trip or long weekend, make it an outdoor adventure they will never forget.
Family Outdoor Activities
Need help finding an activity to do with your family? Then check out the following four outdoor activities your family can enjoy doing together in the great outdoors:
Cycling and Mountain Bike Racing
While biking down your local trails is always a fun activity to do with your family, why not consider training for and entering a few local races together. Cycling clubs, such as Frazier Cycling in Georgia and Bicycle World of Houston, encourage parents to go on training rides with their children. Bike riding is an excellent form of exercise, and training for a race will give everyone in your family a goal to work towards. Many small local event offer family-friendly races and activities, and USA Cycling offers a program for those looking to race on a more serious level.
Riding ATVs together as a family will allow your clan to discover beautiful remote areas that would be very hard, if not impossible, to reach otherwise with children. For example, you could check out the historic and beautiful Hatfield-McCoy Trails in West Virginia, which includes 600 miles of trails. For trails near you, check out ATVTrails.org. Before hitting the trails, make sure that your entire family is outfitted with the appropriate safety gear.
Hiking is another fun way to get your kids in touch with nature. In most areas, you’ll be able to find suitable trails for children to hike, even if they are just easy ones through your local park. If you aren’t sure where to find good trails in your area or would like to go on treks with other families, check out Meetup groups for your area. You might be able to find groups specifically created for family hiking outdoor activities. In Northern California, try the Sacramento Hikers with Kids. In Hendersonville, North Carolina, you’ll find the Hiking with Little Kids in WNC Meetup. To find a Meetup near you, just go to the website and search using the keywords “hiking” and “kids.”
Canoeing and Kayaking
Gliding down a river is a peaceful way to spend time in nature with your children. REI recommends taking children under seven in a canoe, as this watercraft is more stable than a kayak. Once your children get a little older, you can try kayaking with them. Be sure to teach your children proper water safety techniques and always have them wear lifejackets while on the water.
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Emily Roberts MA, LPC is The Guidance Girl. Her goal is to help YOU become the most confident person you know! Emily is an award-winning author Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Becoming Who You Are, Psychotherapist, TV & Media Contributor, Educational Speaker, and parenting consultant. She travels around the country educating girls, women, and parents. Express Yourself is available at bookstores nationwide and on Amazon. To learn more about Emily click here.