Get hiking with your kids, even in Canada’s urban centres

I’m fortunate. My family loves to be outside. And we happen to live close to a fantastic warren of forest trails. So we take every opportunity to venture into Lynn Canyon, in the mountains 25 minutes north of Vancouver.

Getting into the fresh air is not only invigorating; our hikes provide countless opportunities to share great experiences with our kids.

We teach our children, aged 5 and 2, about the wonders of nature. By asking questions and encouraging observation, we give our children their first science experiences. We look at plants and fungi. We search out signs of animal life.

And while not all of our hikes are vigorous – we do enjoy a leisurely stroll from time to time – every moment outdoors is an opportunity to develop and refine fundamental movement skills.

We hop over branches. We climb and leap off stumps. We practice balancing while walking on fallen logs.

Our children quickly became confident in performing these skills and are comfortable enough on the uneven – and often muddy – ground that they are often racing ahead, and blazing new trails in the underbrush.

In fact, we think of the outdoors as an activity environment for development of physical literacy. To our minds, being able to move in the natural world is as important as being able to do things on the ground, in the water, on snow and ice, and in the air.

So get outside! It’s possible to find hiking spots even in the most urban of Canada’s cities. You don’t need a large area, just the right outlook. And your kids will learn and develop skills while having fun.

Where to go hiking in

Halifax: Fort Sackville, Hemlock Ravine, Long Lake, Point Pleasant

Montreal: Bois-de-Liesse, Mont Royal, Parc Maisonneuve, Pole des Rapides

Ottawa: Gatineau Park, Rideau Canal

Toronto: Don Valley, High Park, Humber River, Waterfront Trail

Winnipeg: Assiniboine Park, Kilcona Park, Red River

Regina: Devonian Pathway, Wascana Lake

Edmonton: Emily Murphy Park, Kinsmen Park, North Saskatchewan River valley

Calgary: Bowmont Park, Fish Creek Park, Nose Hill Park, Prince’s Island Park

Vancouver: Burnaby Lake Park, Mount Seymour Park, Stanley Park, UBC Endowment Lands

 

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