It’s a universal law that all kids despise boredom. They love it when things happen. Sit in a quiet room and children are bored to death. Reach over and tickle them and they come alive. They crave excitement and they need adventures to help them grow into who they’re meant to be.
Adventure is defined as an exciting or unusual experience. This can include outdoor activities, trying new food, serving folks in need, working on a project, traveling near and far, playing in the backyard, competing in a sport, doing something odd, you name it. It can be simple or extravagant. You are only limited by your imagination.
Taking your kids on adventures is an important and useful tool in your parenting toolbox.
Here are five reasons why:
1. Adventures help develop their brain
In his book, “Brain Rules” molecular biologist John Medina reveals this insight: “Physical activity is cognitive candy.” Meaning, the more we move, the better we think. This is why exercise is so critical. Medina says our brains were built for walking 12 miles a day. Nowadays, we look for excuses not to move at all. And it’s not only hurting our physical health, it’s hurting our brain function.
By taking our kids on adventures, we are helping them grow smarter. If Medina is correct, they are more likely to perform better in school, make better decision, and think more clearly. All good reasons to get them on the move. And it’s good for your brain, too.
2. Adventures help improve behavior
The old adage, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop” has a hint of truth to it. If your child is bored, they will often create their own excitement, good or bad.
By going on adventures, you are channeling that energy into something productive. When they are too busy or having too much fun to misbehave, that’s a sweet spot. When my teenage son and I go on hikes together, I get to see the kind of man he will be. That’s when he’s at his most mature. When we are in the wild, he is more focused, whimsical, careful, thoughtful, and determined. All characteristics that will serve him well as he enters manhood.
3. Adventures widens a child’s world
When you’re a child, your world is small. At first, your world is as big as their house. Then it grows to the size of your school. When you’re finally out on your own, you’re thrust in the middle of a massive world and it can be difficult to navigate. It can be quite a shock.
By planning intentional adventures, you are encouraging your children to think and dream bigger. When we take them someplace new, when we introduce them to someone interesting, when we experience something unique, we are expanding their world, and thus, their mind. They are more prepared for what’s to come because they are more familiar with the territory than the kid who emerges from his parents’ basement after graduation.
4. Adventures teach kids about themselves
Kids learn best by doing, not just sitting. Likewise, we can best teach our kids by showing, not just telling. That’s where adventures can becoming an excellent learning tool.
By experiencing adventures, you are showing your kids how to operate in real life. As kids, we believe we are the center of the universe. As adults, the harsh reality that it’s not can be difficult to swallow. Adventures always carry a sense of risk and the unknown. It also reveals our response when it does. We discover our strengths, weaknesses, tendencies, and limits. We learn what we’re good at, what we’re not, and what to work on. When we gain that kind of perspective, it translates to other areas of life.
5. Adventures provide stories
As we’ve covered before, you are the chief memory maker in your family. A memory is simply a story that’s been stored in our minds. Children love to tell stories. Especially the kind that are full of thrills and the unexpected.
By creating adventures, you are giving your kids stories to tell. Not only will they have exciting tales to share with friends, but they will have memories they will share with their grandchildren that include you. You will give them an example as they become parents who take their kids on adventures and so on. That’s a family legacy you get to create right now!
What are you waiting for?