There are many benefits to spending time outside with your kids. Many recent studies agree that kids who play outside are smarter, happier, more attentive, and less anxious than kids who spend more time indoors. This in itself is a lot, but read on, as there's a whole lot more.
As working adults, we know from our own busy lives that we feel better too when we can take a break and step outside. Can you relate?
We're lucky in Golden, BC that we're surrounded by a spectacular natural playground. This area is paradise for people of all ages. There are plenty of outdoor activities that offer many benefits to both your children and yourself.
Rafting is one of the best ways to get out into Mother Nature with your kiddos, for many reasons. The Kicking Horse River teaches us lessons everyday.
Here are 11 benefits of spending time outside with your kids
1. Connection to Nature
Our natural world has so much to teach. It’s beautiful, vast and offers endless possibilities for feeling joy, happiness and respect.
It’s our natural world that sustains us, and feeling connected to it is critical for the well being of our planet. The more time children play outside, the better they’ll appreciate the plants, animals and natural processes that make up our world.
Spending time outside and marvelling at the wonders of nature builds respect and understanding.
Floating down a river on a raft offers everyone an opportunity to see the world from a different vantage point. You can look deep into the river, high up at the mountain tops, around you at the trees, and deep into the forest for the animals and birds.
Positive experiences in nature will strengthen children's love for the outdoors. This will serve them - and the planet - so well going forwards.
2. Strengthening Relationships with Those You’re With
One of the biggest perks of getting outside as a family is the time your children will spend with you. As adults, many of us recall our first camping trip with our parents. We remember skating on a frozen pond, or splashing around in streams, lakes, and rivers in the summer. These treasured moments are as much about the people we spent time with, as they are about the adventures themselves.
Kids remember the joy, wonder and excitement they feel when playing outside with you. The bonds and trust established on these adventures extend long after the activity has ended.
With rafting being a new activity for many, kids get the excitement of trying something new with you. Sharing laughter, smiles and learning new skills - that is time well spent.
3. Turning off Technology
In our ever evolving society, technology infiltrates more and more areas of our lives. Don’t get us wrong. We know the benefits of technology and see how it’s improved our own lives. It’s easy, though, for boundaries to become blurred. Technology can take over and fill our days without us even realizing.
Turning off our phones and devices and tuning into the present moment is critical for happiness and well being. It’s also important for kids to use their imaginations and learn how to entertain themselves - without requiring a screen to do so.
Travelling on a river heightens our senses, ignites the imagination and creates long lasting memories. Your children will be seeing, hearing, smelling, and touching new things when they head into the outdoors. Nature itself is the entertainment and we know it’s a wonderful teacher.
Our bodies need sunshine! We need a safe amount of sun exposure to make vitamin D, the vitamin that plays a crucial role in many body processes. Bone development and a strong immune system - both important. Regulating calcium and phosphorous, also very important.
While these processes are internal and hard to see, we know first hand how much better we feel right away when we’re outside soaking in the sun. The fresh air, gentle breezes and warmth of the sun makes us feel better both mentally and physically.
A bit of warmth after spending a morning inside, or brightness after a string of dreary days. It perks us right up.
We’re not talking about overdoing it. Protecting your skin from too much exposure is important too. If you’re using sunscreen, make sure you opt for a natural and reef safe option to protect our lakes, rivers and oceans.
For your day of rafting you’ll be all suited up in a wetsuit. Depending on the weather and how many layers you opt for, you may be fully covered or you may have arms exposed. We'll help you make sure you have exactly what you need.
Enjoy the best parts of a sunny day and still stay cool on the water with us.
5. Problem Solving
The processes that help us prioritize, troubleshoot, and problem solve are crucial for our success as adults. These are skills children must learn, and loosely structured outdoor play is a great way to practice them.
Children grow from experiences where they’re required to figure things out and amuse themselves. Being outside gives them opportunities to practice these important life skills.
Rafting through even the gentlest of rapids and learning something new, like paddling, activates a problem solving piece of our brain (and if you’re on a more intense trip with your teens, even more so!).
It’s a great way for kids to learn and strengthen these skills without even realizing they’re doing so.
We can't think of a bigger or better playground than the wide open spaces of Mother Nature. Outdoor areas where kids are able to run, explore and create their own games. It's everything they need for positive development.
Who else has wonderful memories of building forts that became castles or hide and seek before bedtime?
The possibilities are endless when you’re outside, especially when floating down a mountain river. Exposure to natural novelty and new experiences allows kids to interact in new ways with their surroundings. Imaginations can run wild in the best possible way.
They can be curious and free, design their own entertainment and then approach the world with a new perspective.
Who knows...we may even have them dreaming of becoming river guides!
Children need some mitigated risks. As parents, this may sound a bit stressful; we want our kids to stay out of harm’s way. But if we never let them take any risks, they won’t have a baseline for understanding what’s possible. This can affect confidence and decision making later down the line.
Life poses risks, that’s inevitable. Teaching our kids how to trust themselves to make good decisions is critical to their development and self esteem.
Rafting has an element of thrill that feels riskier than the couch, while still being an activity that’s built around safety. All rafters spend the day in the capable hands of professional raft guides. This creates a great opportunity for kids to dabble in a safe thrill and know it’s okay (and enjoyable!) to try new things.
8. expending Energy
Get the body movin’! The kids we know and love are little balls of energy. Once they’re up and start their day there is a lot of motion and commotion.
Kids need positive outlets for all this energy and there’s no better place than the outdoors. Wide open spaces allow kids to run, roll, play and be silly to their little hearts content. Without this positive release, their energy can come out in less pleasant ways.
Not only is exercise good for kids’ bodies, but it also then helps them focus and tune into their thoughts and minds. Quiet time is easier after they’ve run amok outside.
A morning or afternoon of paddling on the Kicking Horse River will give them an awesome dose of exercise. In contrast to many sedentary indoor activities, a day of fresh air and movement is good for their bodies and souls. It’s also important for strength, coordination and balance.
We’ll have them paddling, swimming and exploring their little hearts out. They might even look forward to bedtime!
Working together with a group of people is an important skill. Whether it’s with your family, or people you’ve just met, outdoor group activities need teamwork.
We all know how important these skills are, and enjoying outdoor activities is a fun way to develop them.
Hopping into a raft is always a bonding activity. With most rafts seating 8 - 10 people, chances are you’ll be meeting some new faces. You’re all working towards a common goal, as navigating a raft requires everyone to work together.
Many friendships are made on the river. It’s very common for us to see people exchanging phone numbers or emails at the end of a trip, with plans to stay in touch.
Children learn from interaction. They start to make friends, practice how to share and cooperate, and how to treat other people.
Trying new things teaches kids how to communicate and relate to people in different ways. If they’re excited and see someone else is excited, they can share those positive feelings. If they’re nervous and see someone else is nervous, it’s important to know they’re not alone.
Rafting is a great way to get children out of traditionally structured social settings. They'll develop interpersonal skills in an environment that's fun and friendly.
Spending quality time with people we care about is the best way to create lasting memories. It's the experiences we have that will stay in our minds, long after the adventure has ended.
People tell us all the time that their rafting trip was the highlight of the family vacation.
Whitewater rafting provides a breathtaking way (visually and physically) to see a new area. You'll be having fun as a family and you can't ask for a better experience than that.
As parents, you’re also our guests, so you don’t have to worry about lunch or logistics. We plan for this to be a relaxing and enjoyable experience for you too!
Everyday we see kids (and adults) come back from the river with massive smiles on their faces. They’re pumped at the end of their trip and will have stories to tell for months to come.
Glacier’s Options for Families With Kids 4-11
Start your day in Yoho National Park, meandering down the Kicking Horse River. This is our calmest trip which is suitable for children as young as four years old. There are no big rapids on this trip, but it is a fast paced float with a few bumps and splashes.
For the little ones in your family (or the river hesitant) it's an entertaining trip through mountain scenery. It's the perfect, gentle introduction to river rafting.
Our Family Adventure Trip includes a riverside BBQ lunch. We’ll take care of feeding all your little mouths for the day so it’s one less thing for you to plan for.
Glacier’s Options for Families With Kids 12+
The Whitewater Discovery starts with the calm upper canyon and works up to the big whitewater in the middle canyon of the Kicking Horse River. It’s the most popular trip we offer and rafts roughly 26 km of beautiful glacial river.
You’ll start by taking in big mountain views and lush green forests. After a hot BBQ lunch you’ll get back in your raft and continue downstream into the whitewater.
This trip is suitable for anyone who is at least 12 years old and 90 lbs.
If you have kids of various ages, it’s also very common for families to book some on the Family Adventure and others on the Whitewater Discovery. We can help explain and make sure everyone is getting the experience best suited for them.
Give us a call at 1 877 344 7238, or email email@example.com, and we can fill you in.
And there you go. There are so many benefits of spending time outside with your kids. If a trip to Golden, BC is in your plans, we’d love to spend one of your outdoor days together.
We’ll do our best to keep your kids entertained, and we know they’ll walk away with new skills. We hope developing a love for the outdoors and rafting is part of the experience too.
For more ideas of what to do with your little ones in this area, check out Tourism Golden's Family Fun page.