Friday, September 13, 2013

Reason No. 22 to Hike: Kids Develop Better Brains

Hiking equals smarter kids.
When exposed to new places and activities, our brains reorganize themselves in new ways to make sense of and to better deal with the stimuli the next time we encounter it. This amounts to “exercising” the brain, as we’re not just doing the same old, routine stuff day and day.

Taking kids out on a day hike is a good way to stimulate the brain. They will see new things (maybe a deer sprinting for cover), hear new sounds (such as wind rustling tall grass), take in new smells (perhaps the musky leaves beneath their feet), touch new textures (like the roughness of basalt or granite), maybe even enjoy new tastes (say wild blueberries).

These experiences can help kids expand their minds. Talking about it afterward can help them better understand nature and increase their desire to protect it – as well as experience it again on another hike!

Read more about day hiking with children in my Hikes with Tykes guidebooks.