With more screens around than ever before, showing kids that the outdoors are just as tempting as their favorite new app can be a challenge. I don’t want my kid to think the fun stops in front of a tablet screen, so I'm showing her outdoor activities (like running, hiking and camping) that will pique her curiosity and help her with independent problem-solving.
A little outdoor adventure can help kids learn about taking (safe) risks and overcoming challenges — skills that will definitely come in handy as they go out into the world on their own.
In partnership with Athleta Girl, we're diving into all the confidence-boosting outdoor activities your kids will love. Whether your family's off on a spring camping trip or just heading outside for a quick run together, we've got you covered.
Ever since my family moved from the city to the 'burbs, we’ve had a chance to follow the road less traveled, quite literally, tying up our hiking boots and getting out to the forest for some nature walks or trail runs. My daughter, Evie, 5, never liked grass until we left the city (no really, she cried stepping on our lawn for the first time), and now through hiking, the world can feel like hers to conquer.
I had to get her dressed for the occasion, so I chose pants with bands around the ankles to keep the ticks away (like Athleta Girl’s Discovery Camp Capri), with zip pockets so she can store all the treasures she finds. Breathing in fresh air, skipping from rock to rock along our trail, and collecting acorns for an art project to do at home feels like a mini adventure to her. It can be difficult to get kids to open up, but in the stillness of nature, Evie will chat about school, friendships, and anything that may be bugging her.
For kids, a light hike offers cardiovascular exercise, but even more important given today’s fancy and groomed playgrounds, the opportunity to traverse rocks, navigate exposed roots, and climb over fallen trees builds balance and agility. So as I watch Evie figure out how to get from point A to point B when a large rain puddle blocks our way, I see her problem solving skills and confidence grow as she sees what she can accomplish. On the trail, away from dangers of a busy street, she’s also free to roam, make her own choices, and test her limits.
As a marathoner, it’s important to me that running be something that Evie is exposed to, and with all the energy that kids have, why not harness it? Even if she doesn’t end up on the track team, knowing the basics and techniques of running will help her get through any sport she plays and build her strength, endurance, and coordination.
My daughter’s been running with me ever since she can remember — pregnancy, infancy, and beyond — so she’s always been along for the ride. Now that she’s old enough to keep up, she can actually be included on family jogs. I love the Athleta Girl Made To Move Short because the thick waistband and lightweight material means the shorts won’t ride up (so annoying for kids!), and the cotton-like sweat-wicking Play All Day Tank feels soft and airy as she jogs alongside me and my husband (who's pushing the baby jogger stroller).
I want my daughter to appreciate outdoor life, so we took her camping a few hours' drive outside of our city. She loved the idea of helping us set up a tent and gather firewood with my husband to make a “real-life fire,” as she called it — using the fireplace at home is a favorite activity of hers. I loved seeing her excitement over doing these “real-life things” we only “play” with at home, and her amazement in how they apply to the real world.
Once you set up camp, activities like swimming, canoeing, and boating are a no-brainer — so a comfortable bathing suit is essential. For Evie, this fun Athleta Girl Reversible Tie Dye bikini offers a comfy fit with stretchy fabric that holds its shape, and it's even reversible (meaning two suits in one).
Showing Evie the basics of living away from home is only the start of promoting how amazing travel and exploring new places can be. Besides, being outside means we’re not plugged in at home. Staying away from technology for a weekend forces our kids to foster better relationships with their parents, with nature, and with their creativity.
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This post is sponsored by Athleta Girl.