6 Reasons to Explore with Your Kids
Do you ever scratch your head when thinking about what to get your kids for an upcoming birthday? Well, maybe a new Hatchimal isn’t your best bet. A recent survey revealed that 43% of kids prefer vacations to gifts. In addition, similar to adults, 46% of kids said that the best part about holidays was seeing new places and trying new things.
Whether or not your family has a holiday on the horizon, here are 6 reasons to get out and explore with your kids in any neighborhood.
1. Take the classroom outside of the classroom
So, not only do kids value new experiences, it turns out kids who travel perform better in school when compared to kids who don’t. The US Department of Education found that kids who visit new places perform better in math and reading, and also have more general knowledge compared to their peers who do not travel. However, it should also be noted that travelling wasn’t the only way to raise a smarter student. You can achieve the same benefits of travel and the same sense of wonder without boarding an airplane. Kids who visited museums and parks also scored better on academic achievement as well.
2. Stretch their observational skills
As you and your family walk, you can slow down the busy pace of life and take note of the surrounding environment. Encourage your children to be curious. Challenge them to use all five of their senses. Listen to the barking sea lions near the wharf. Taste the richness of the pistachio gelato. Smell the fresh baguettes at the French bakery. Study the characters painted in the art galleries. Touch the ABC gum cemented to the gum wall (ok, maybe don’t do that one). These experiences stretch the mind and facilitate critical thinking.
3. Open the lines of communication
Walking outside tends to boost our creativity; as our heart rate increases, more blood flows to the brain, which helps us create and express our ideas more fluently. As you stroll together, give your kids lots of opportunity to express their thoughts, ask questions, discuss their best friend at school, share their dreams, admit their worries — let everything and anything be fair game.
4. Collect trinkets and memories
Before you head out, bring along a day pack to hold the treasures you find along the way. Collecting small objects provides a chance to enjoy the beauty and diversity of the world they discover. Rocks. Shells. Cards. Sticks. Leaves. The possibilities are endless. Your kids might be able to use the findings from their adventure for an art project. Or perhaps they simply serve as a motivator for another walk.
5. Reap the physical and mental benefits
We already know that the habit of walking is proven to aid in weight management, but walking also helps kids build lean muscle, strengthen bones, improve cardiovascular health, increase absorption of vitamin D, and decrease anxiety. Since walking and exploring are activities that can be done at any stage of their lives, facilitating family walks encourages the habit of lifelong health.
6. See the world through their eyes
Walking together with a child also benefits parents. Strolling at your kid’s speed, gives you the time to see the world from their eyes. There is something wonderful about the details your children will point out (that you would’ve overlooked without them). A sense of adventure comes naturally to kids.They soak everything up, new sights, sounds, tastes, and smells. Walking with your family allows you the opportunity to witness your kids absorb new experiences. All you need to do is follow their lead to experience their enchantment.
To help inspire some ideas for where to explore with your family, here are 4 kid friendly Sidewalks everyone will love:
New York City
Sidewalk: The Perfect Day for Kids of All Ages: Upper West Side Edition
Why? This Sidewalk includes stops for breakfast, lunch and a snack, as you visit a kid-approved museum and playground, not to mention questions to engage children. Lace up some sneakers and get going.
Sidewalk: The Foodie Walk of Chinatown LA: Old World Meets Contemporary Fusion
Why? Expand your kid’s palate horizons with the wonders of Chinese cuisine. The goal of this Sidewalk to try a little of everything, so bring your grazing appetite. It's guaranteed you won't be hungry at the end!
Sidewalk: The Insider's Walk of Fisherman's Wharf: Sea Lions, Chocolate, Chowder & Pinball
Why? Spot the sea lions, discover a hidden arcade, inspect bakers preparing sourdough, and stumble upon some of the city's top culinary classics. This is the local’s exploration of Fisherman's Wharf.
Sidewalk: Flying Fish, Cheese Curds & Black Garlic: The Local's Foodie Guide to Pike Place Market
Why? Pike Place is a wonderland for kids to explore. And we will show you the secret spots that adults will love too. This is the best of the best of the market: flying salmon, chocolate covered cherries, ginger beer, pork buns and more.