Most days, I just want my boys away from the television screen and me away from the junk food in the pantry. That’s why we go hiking—the 2-year-old, 4-year-old, and me. Otherwise, my stomach would be full of Goldfish, and their little brains would be full of Paw Patrol before 10:00 a.m.
Being outside, exploring new trails and sites in our community is a way for us to connect—with nature and each other. There’s nothing better than the three of us discovering new places and letting our curiosity about the natural world grow together.
Nature inspires meaningful conversations; I can’t think of a better place to talk to my sons about their Creator than in his creation.
There aren’t any distractions, no toys to battle over, or snacks to whine about needing. I’m not frazzled, trying to find ways to entertain them. I’m not trying to break up a toddler brawl. Best of all, I’m not feeling guilty because I’m on my phone scrolling mindlessly through my social media feed trying to get a mental break; that only makes me feel more mentally exhausted.
I want my boys—and myself—to experience the beautiful things our backyard and community have to offer, not to take what we have for granted. I want to appreciate the time I have with these two little boys and not wish it away, thinking life would be more exciting somewhere else. In nature, life is exciting.
What could be more exciting than your 4-year-old climbing his first mountain pass or hiking two miles without hesitation? Imagine the confidence that is instilling in your little one. They can do anything! I don’t know about you, but my children are happiest when they are messy—covered in dirt and sand after digging with sticks or wet from splashing in muddles—that is where they thrive.
Best of all, there is nothing more rewarding than sitting around a dinner table, listening to my boys tell their dad about the exciting things they discovered and learned that day with their mom.
Anyone can hike, the avid outdoorswomen, newbies, first-time moms, pregnant women, absolutely anyone. It doesn’t take fancy gear or gadgets to get out on the trail, just some sturdy shoes, hats, and water bottles. Nature accepts us all.
And that is why I hike with my children.
These are our favorite picture books to read together about nature and love.
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