• Why you should bring children on a nature walk

There are so many benefits we get from spending time in nature.

It can help us deal with stress, fear and anger. Plus it’s great physical exercise.

And guess what – it’s not just for adults!

Many studies have shown that children who spend time in nature enjoy better mental, emotional and physical health.

Researchers at the University of Derby looked at the attitudes of participants in a 30-day nature challenge, by questioning them before, during and two months after the challenge:

…children exposed to the natural world showed increases in self-esteem. They also felt it taught them how to take risks, unleashed their creativity and gave them a chance to exercise, play, and discover. In some cases nature can significantly improve the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), providing a calming influence and helping them concentrate.
BBC

Here in New Zealand, our Department of Conservation says spending time in nature helps children in a number of ways:

  • Increase self esteem and resilience against stress and adversity.
  • Improve concentration, learning, creativity, cognitive development, cooperation, flexibility and self-awareness.
  • Prevent childhood obesity.

DOC also notes that in an increasingly urbanised world — with television, computers, and extracurricular activities competing for time – fewer children have the opportunity to enjoy playing in nature, an issue echoed in other research:

‘Nature deprivation,’ a lack of time in the natural world, largely due to hours spent in front of TV or computer screens, has been associated, unsurprisingly, with depression. More unexpected are studies by Weinstein and others that associate screen time with loss of empathy and lack of altruism. And the risks are even higher than depression and isolation. In a 2011 study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, time in front of a screen was associated with a higher risk of death, and that was independent of physical activity!
University of Minnesota

Taking a walk in nature is a great opportunity for families to spend time together, supporting and learning from each other as they take on new challenges.

Moreover, exposure to nature helps young people develop responsible long-term environmental behaviour:

A number of authors talk about the importance of the middle years (6 to 12 years old) for the development of the child’s relationship with the natural world. This is a time where the sense of wonder of early childhood is transformed to a sense of exploration. Research found that participation with nature before age 11 is particularly potent in shaping both environmental attitudes and behaviours in adulthood.
Department of Conservation

Better health and better citizens – it seems obvious that children need to be spending time in nature at least as much as adults do.

If you’re planning to join us on one of our Waiheke walks, why not talk to us about including younger members of the family. Although our standard walks are about five hours long, we also offer personalised walks to suit the interests and abilities of each person.

» Contact us now for more information

» Learn more about the benefits of spending time in nature

2 January 2020

  • star rating  The perfect way to explore the Hauraki Gulf - We had a fabulous day out on board Pacific Star with skipper Bruce and walking guide Lucie. Can’t think of a better way to explore and learn about the history... read more

    AniHaf
    6 March 2023

    star rating  A rewarding hike. - We really appreciated the knowlege of Gabrielle about the island, its history and the flora and fauna of the area. We learned so much about the positve steps NZ... read more

    BCistg
    25 February 2023

    star rating  What an amazing experience exploring the beautiful Waiheke Island with Gabrielle, a passionate nature lover with in depth knowledge of the flora and fauna of the island. Gabrielle also... read more

    Anthony N
    11 March 2023
  • star rating  Excellent first day in NZ tour of Waiheke. - Having a lunch with my guide on the sandy beach. As it turned out, I was the only guest for the tour time and date I had chosen. ... read more

    Peter B
    9 March 2023

    star rating  Really knowledgable local guide and beautiful walk. Local history, geography, flora, fauna and current regeneration projects. Well worth it.

    EmmiTYR
    1 April 2023

    star rating  Great time. - The hiking tour we took of Waiheke Island was one of our highlights to the Auckland NZ area. Tyler, our guide was knowledgeable, energetic and FUN! I highly recommend... read more

    Curious271653
    29 March 2023
  • star rating  A Day on Waiheke Island - We had a wonderful day on Waiheke Island. Our guide, Nydia, was terrific. She was friendly, she told us all about the flora and fauna as well as... read more

    bergelsonjeff
    14 March 2023

    star rating  Great Tour of Waiheke Island! - We had most of a day to devote to touring Waiheke island and Gabrielle was an EXCELLENT guide! Very accommodating to our schedule, very knowledgeable about the island, a... read more

    Rick S
    7 March 2023

    star rating  Wonderful experience on Waiheke Island! - Although the weather was dull with light rain at the beginning of our hike, our wonderful guide Tyler engaged our attention right away with her knowledge of the flora and... read more

    John M
    26 February 2023
  • star rating  Perfect day away from the Hustle and Bustle - We really enjoyed the stunning views and bays of Waiheke isl. Tyler guided us during the walk and shared her great knowledge about the beautiful nature. Towards the end of... read more

    Enjoylifetooshort
    6 March 2023

    star rating  Excellent four and introduction to Waiheke Island. - Fantastic tour! Walking and hiking with coastal views, and on a trail through the forest. Then an absolutely delicious picnic lunch on the Mudbrick winery estate before a lovely... read more

    karenbQ4590RK
    3 March 2023

    star rating  Nydia was a lovely tour guide. The scenery was amazing. We had a tight schedule due to a flight and they modified the tour time to accommodate us. Great people... read more

    Abbey B
    4 March 2023
  • star rating  Sailing Waiheke with Blue Penguins - My husband and I had such a lovely time touring the islands around Waiheke for our honeymoon! Bruce and Gabrielle were such lovely hosts and we had an amazing time... read more

    Anston25
    11 March 2023

    star rating  Relaxed Day - Gabrielle"s wealth of knowledge of the flora and fauna of the island was amazing. Even though the weather meant plans had to change it was a most enjoyable day hiking... read more

    margaretg511
    14 March 2023

    star rating  Loved our tour with Gabrielle - We really appreciated the knowlege of Gabrielle about the island, its history and the flora and fauna of the area. We learned so much about the positve steps NZ is... read more

    Karen B
    28 March 2023
  • star rating  Sailing - Fab journey, Bruce and Gabrielle great hosts
    Anchored up and swam, not much wind but all good, great food :)

    Bazzacam
    27 February 2023

    star rating  A great day out - I really enjoyed my day out. Lucie was a great guide, offering lots of information about the history of the island and the flora and fauna. The meet and greet... read more

    Surreyonsea
    1 March 2023

    star rating  Great walk - We took the vineyards and bush walk around Waiheke. I don't really like bus tours and this was a nice option. A little longer walk than advertised but... read more

    swelgus
    6 March 2023
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