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Getting Kids on Trails this Summer

Getting kids out on trails helps them develop physical, social, and academic skills. Hiking is a great way to get kids outside and moving. According to the American Heart Association, most kids should be doing at least an hour of physical activity every day. Hiking is an excellent way to help your child meet this requirement. It's also an opportunity for you and your child to spend quality time together while developing important physical, social, and academic skills along the way.

In addition to boosting their overall health and fitness levels, hiking helps kids develop essential skills like teamwork, problem solving, perseverance and communication. Multiple studies have show that time in nature improves academic performance and fosters a sense of well-being in children.

Okay, all of that is all well and good - but you may be asking: "How do I inspire my kids to get out on the trail?" Here are five tips to help you and your kids have fun in the great outdoors.

These five tips we gleaned from fellow bloggers that will help you get started on your next adventure with your family. We will link the websites below.

1. Mountain Mama has lots of suggestions for fun time on the trail with kids. She suggests bringing snacks that you only provide during hikes and no other time. Keeps those treats special for family time outside.

2. American Trails suggests "giving the kids some control." Let them set the pace of the hike and stop and explore along the way. Be sure to set a route that is short and "do-able" for the child's age.

3. Kids in Parks reminds that proper footwear are vital to a great experience on the trail. You don't need to invest in a pair of hiking boots. A pair of property fitting sneakers will work just fine on most public trails.

4. The Wilderness Society says set a goal of going hiking once a month. In Rockingham County, there are enough kid-friendly trails to hike a new trail each month of the year. We'll cover each of those trails in an upcoming blog.

Meanwhile, there are many more tips and ideas on these websites. Let's get out there!

Trails K12 is a system-wide model of change building access to natural learning spaces and empowering teachers and students to use those spaces. We are a movement to get kids outside in the natural spaces of their schools for structured and unstructured time. Both are vital to nurturing creative thinking and developing the whole child. For more information or to discuss a trail to serve your school, contact

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