With just a couple of days left in the month of September the Hike It Baby 30 challenge is drawing to a close. For us, and many families around the globe, it has been a brilliant way to chart the walking distances and outdoor time that we have enjoyed with our kids. It also does a great job of promoting the need to get children outside on a more regular basis. After all, anytime away from LCD screens and other modern distractions, is good time.
Hike It Baby 30 is a 30 day challenge to encourage families all over the world to get their babies and children outside. The aim is 30 miles in 30 days or 30 minutes three times a week. The challenge runs four times a year and participants sign up via the Hike It Baby website. This site also acts as the portal, which logs and tracks all of your hikes and walks, as well as calculating the number of hours you and your kids have spent in the great outdoors in that particular month. Furthermore, a dedicated Facebook group provides the opportunity to share photos, experiences and encouragement with other families undertaking the challenge. This has been something to marvel at on occasion as families living in truly beautiful parts of the world, such as the wilds of Alaska, share their stories and images.
Without really doing anything out of ordinary we have managed to log 53.2 miles this month. That’s 53.2 miles of walking and hiking with our kids! As our critters are both still very young (Amelie can’t even walk yet!), the number of miles that they have walked themselves (without being carried) is obviously significantly reduced. However, just by accompanying me every morning while I walk the dog a very short distance, Jesse managed to contribute nearly 10 miles of independent walking to his monthly total of 20 miles. That’s pretty good going for a two year old!
Now, every morning, Jesse expects to take Harvey, our black Labrador, out with me. In fact, if he’s playing up, as toddlers tend to do, I now threaten to take away his dog walking role. This, of course, results in a swift, but spectacular, meltdown followed by ‘I’m sorry’. The important thing is that it has far more of an impact than me saying ‘I’ll turn the TV off’.
To make life as easy and enjoyable as possible, not all of these walks have to be designated hikes. Yes, hikes on beautifully isolated trails count, of course they do. But so do walks along the beach, strolls around a city with a pushchair or wandering around a festival site. They all count towards your distance total. It’s about getting kids used to being outside so, as they grow up, they want to be outdoors. Surely this is preferable to them being stuck inside, content with posting duck-faced selfies on Snapchat, or giving themselves repetitive strain injuries on games consoles.
Time spent outdoors is an equally important factor in these challenges. So, if you have a crawling baby who loves to explore your local park, this is for you too. The website enables you to log your outdoor time with or without a hike, emphasising the importance placed on just being outdoors. This makes the challenge very inclusive and encourages us all to get outside and enjoy our surroundings. During September we logged 1626 minutes of outdoor time – that’s over 27 hours of fresh air and natural surroundings. Moreover, I only calculated outdoor time during our walks so this, to be fair, is a very conservative figure.
To help you in your quest there’s a bunch of free technology out there for you to take advantage of. Free apps such as Strava use the GPS in modern phones to track and record your distances. More outdoor specific apps, such as View Ranger, will also enable you to download maps (additional charge) if you’re considering taking on something more challenging, like a long hike over isolated trails and terrain.
So, not only is this a great initiative that encourages kids to spend more time outdoors, it also encourages and supports new parents too. We all know how difficult it can seem just getting out of the house with a young baby. As if the torture-like tiredness isn’t enough, you then spend ages gathering all of their worldly belongings only for them to fill their nappy at the moment of departure. But seeing other families managing it and, more importantly, enjoying it, provides great impetus. The set target to achieve within a defined time scale only helps to motivate you further.
So, if you’re struggling to get outdoors with little ones consider signing up for the next challenge. Or, better still, plan your own challenge for October and see just how many miles and hours outside you can accumulate. Don’t forget, those of you in the north Wales and Cheshire area can always join one of our family friendly organised hikes via the events section on our Facebook page.
For more information on Hike It Baby visit there website: