These days, staying at home with our family usually means just keeping things to ourselves, browsing through our social media feeds all day, chatting online with friends, watching movies in our bedrooms, and everything else that doesn’t actually involve interacting with our loved ones. Even eating together is becoming a rare occurrence, with a poll revealing that 62% of parents with kids under 18 years old wished they had family dinners more often.
On top of that, the average length of dinnertimes that used to be 90 minutes long has now drastically shortened to less than 12 minutes.
Considering those, it’s no wonder many families are growing further apart rather than the opposite. That is why family vacations or even just simple hangouts are becoming more important than ever. Family vacations have a long-lasting impact on kids, particularly on their happiness, so as a caring parent, make time for your children and consider engaging in these fun outdoor activities:
1. Horseback Riding
Horseback riding is an easily accessible sport, with many recreational parks and ranches offering it. If you have your own farm or ranch, then you no longer need to go somewhere else. There are also reputable stores selling horseback riding equipment, such as high-quality headstalls and saddles.
In a 2013 study, it was found that children in grades 5 to 8 who participated in a horse activity program have developed many positive changes, including an improved self-awareness, self-management, responsibility, goal orientation, decision-making skills, and interpersonal skills. In teenagers, a 2014 study suggested that horseback riding reduced their stress.
Horseback riding will be challenging at first, but if your kids have achieved this milestone with you, it would mean a lot to them and the memories you’d create are priceless.
Riding a bike is a good exercise, and if your family does it together, then it becomes much more fun. If you have a kid who hasn’t ridden a bike yet, teaching them yourself serves as a form of bonding, too, and you get to watch their progress, which you can celebrate in simple ways together. You may also encourage them to take their bikes when they need to go somewhere, promoting green transportation.
Getting close to nature together drives you farther away from urban distractions, so take advantage of it. It is recommended to go paddling in fall, as there is considerably less water traffic, not to mention the autumn leaves are their most attractive during the season. Immerse yourselves in the beauty of nature and allow your mind to heal.
Camping is an amazing form of family bonding which can teach you valuable lessons as well. Besides pitching a tent correctly, you’d also learn essential survival skills, how to utilize limited resources, how to kindle firewood, mend wounds and injuries, and many more. You and your kids will also develop a deeper appreciation for nature, and you’d go home with increased self-awareness and a new sense of adventure.
Though simple, walking outdoors provides plenty of opportunities to converse and bond. You can simply explore the area around your neighborhood, which you can do after work and after the kids have finished their homework. Bonus if the night sky is filled with stars, because you can go stargazing as well to enhance their experience. You can also schedule treks and hikes when you’re ready and make it a family tradition.
These outdoor activities you can engage in as a family will certainly strengthen your bonds, and spending quality time together such as eating dinner will become second nature to you. In addition, your kids will also become more comfortable with you, so you can maintain a strong relationship with them.