The Wellness Benefits of Hiking and Bird Watching with Kids

Have you ever taken your children bird watching? Grab your binoculars and hit the trails with your little ones to commemorate National Hiking Day. The holiday falls on Tuesday, November 17th. 

It doesn’t matter if you are meandering down the well-trodden paths of Brooklyn’s Prospect Park or scaling the granite ladders of Maine’s Acadia. Walking trails are some of the best places for children to observe our feathery friends in their natural environments. 

While most people think of hiking as a form of physical endurance, scientists are learning that this outdoor activity also boosts people’s emotional and cognitive well-being. Just being around trees has its benefits. According to researchers, these majestic plants release organic compounds that boost children’s moods. 

Of course, growing bodies need healthy physical outlets. Hiking is a form of light cardiovascular exercise. Unlike carefully landscaped playgrounds and sidewalks, hiking trails present children with several unique challenges. Children participate in simple problem solving when they are forced to circumvent roots, rocks, and other trail interruptions. As children step forward into somewhat uncharted territory, their memory and cognition also improve.

Regular hiking will boost your child’s confidence while exposing them to new concepts. Ample time in nature is proven to improve kids’ mental health well into adulthood. According to researchers, a break from the chaos of mainstream society can also improve children’s focus and patience. According to some researchers, time spent in green outdoor spaces may even provide relief to children suffering from attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms. 

The next time your child is feeling bored, blue, consider taking a hike. There are 1,244 National Recreation Trails in America. Of course, that does not include the countless other foot trails, bikeways, boardwalks, and natural spaces that have been woven into the nation’s dynamic landscape.

In case you needed any more convincing, here are 13 fantastic benefits of hiking made visual:

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