Right now, my three-and-a-half-year-old’s favorite thing to do outside is look for ants. He bends all the way over and watches as they march to and from wherever they’re going. He looks out our sliding glass door and yells for us when he sees bugs on the screen door. He talks about spiders and mosquitos and caterpillars. He loves catching sight of flocks of birds flying off a power line. Even when I drop him off at daycare in the pitch black early morning, one of the first things he asks is, “Can I go outside now?” He loves the outdoors, which is such a great quality to have and a good habit to form at this young of an age.
Photo by Sharon Austin
Getting kids outdoors is so important that the National Wildlife Federation has a campaign called Be Out There, which not only lists the reason why kids should get outdoors (it’s essential to their physical and mental health), but provides a bunch of resources to help you get your kids outside, while also planning special events around the country. One of those events, Hike & Seek, is taking place here in the Twin Cities this weekend on September 28. Specially designed for kids ages three to ten, Hike & Seek is actually a great event for the entire family. Taking place in nearly a dozen cities this fall, Hike & Seek offers a one to two-mile hike with special discoveries and nature games along the way.
Lebanon Hills Regional Park in Eagan sits on 2,000 acres of park land and offers many trails and year-round outdoor activities (from fishing, swimming and geocaching to snowshoeing and ice skating). On Saturday, join the fray around noon for Hike & Seek and take off into the wild for about three hours (depending on your own set pace). Make nature crafts, bring a picnic lunch (light snack will be provided), and just enjoy nature as a family. The event happens rain or shine, so be prepared for the weather, too.
According to Be Out There, kids spend half as much time outside as they did 20 years ago and a lot more time in front of technology. And not only is playing outdoors great for kids’ development, it also helps them become more conscientious adults who appreciate the environment. Hike & Seek is a great way to get our kids started off on the right foot. Check it out!