We recently shared a post on how to hook kids on the great outdoors published in the march edition of the Nature conservancy magazine. It quotes an article in the UK that found out that the average child spends less time outdoors than the average prisoner. Most of those hours are spent in front of a screen. Part of the reason seems to be that kids don’t want to be outside but it’s all matter of habit.
Children are very eager to be challenged and to discover new things. These are easily achievable by video games, but nature can offer even better rewards. “In my experience, youth today want the same things we wanted as children: real adventure and the opportunity to discover the world around them”, writes the author of the blog. It is true that it’s getting harder to find programs that connect kids to nature but that’s what ATX Kids Club is all about!
Austin still has some amazing nature pockets within minutes of the city. The more we make use of them, the more the government will realize the need for such spaces and keep funding them. We make use of the trails and parks as part of our weekly programs. Many of our kids have travelled through Cesar Chavez Street and fewer have set foot on the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike trail just across the street.
This summer, plan for skill summer camps, but remember the importance of urban and nature camps as well. Let’s get our kids outside!
This week we celebrate the International Women’s Day! It is all about the movement for women’s rights. In the United States it began in New York after a protest by women who made clothes for a living. What initially was a plea for better work conditions has become a fight for equality. The United Nations has given a yearly theme to women’s day for some time now. This year’s theme is Rural and Urban activists transforming women’s lives.
One of the core goals of ATX Kids Club is to motivate children to become more active. We walk through the city and take nature walks every week, but we have also found other great activities such as kayaking and bouldering. It is amazing to be able to introduce bouldering to kids without having to leave the city and in a controlled and safe environment. Australian Sports Camps exposes the benefits of rock climbing in their blog and we love it!
As many other sports it increases strength, endurance and flexibility. Getting to the next level requires working every part of the body. Remember you’re fighting against gravity! It also improves hand feet and eye coordination.
Rock climbing has mental benefits as well. It increases problem solving, planning and decision making. It’s one thing to be able to jump from one rock to the next, it’s another one to be able to reach the end of a puzzle. Figuring out the best route and even discovering their own physical limits requires a lot of thinking. Which also helps to build confidence and self-esteem. A big wall is made of small steps which boost them to keep going. Sometimes their tenacity surpases their physical strenght and they get really tired, while still having so much fun!
Rock climbing helps with stress relief as it is such a challenging activity. Kids and adults have to focus, forgetting all other worries they may have. Add that to the boost in confidence and you get a really happy child! We love taking kids of all ages to ABP in Austin as they usually end up communicating and helping each other. Even smaller kids show their techniques to the older ones.
We believe every child should be able to go out and explore their city. There is no better program to do so than ATX Kids Club! This experience changes lives.
By attending our program they will learn more about their city and country but we have bigger goals. We inspire them to become explorers by fueling their curiosity and their need to make connections to their daily lives. We develop their self-confidence and self-esteem while motivating them to increase physical activity. They also establish social relationships with other kids and their field trip leaders.
During our field trips they learn through hands-on experiences which helps them broaden their awareness of the cultural and historical offerings in Austin. They become aware of their community, and we help them express these experiences through conversation and writing. We learn new things from them all the time as well!
Every year we ask for your donations during amplify Austin. This year is no exception. Amplify Austin is an annual day of fundraising for all of the non-profits in the city. It is also a great way to meet like minded individuals that are concerned with the well being of the community. They are as motivated by their causes as we are with ours.
Become a champion by scheduling your donation now or log in on February 28th. With your help we will be able to extend our amazing field trips to children in need of financial assistance.
ATX Kids Clubs encourages kids to invite their friends to camp. They have so much fun sharing these experiences with the ones they love, but we have also seen many new friendships grow during camp. Some kids are worried because they don’t know anyone attending, but they soon get to know each other. We have also seen kids that attend the same school become better friends because they coincided in summer camp.
Happy Valentine’s day!
Hiking offers a great opportunity to learn, exercise and enjoy nature, but not all kids seem to like it! Easing into hiking can begin before they can even walk. The millage is not what’s important, but what happens in the hike. Take your time and enjoy your hike!
Our first rule while hiking is “if you can’t se us, we can’t see you”. Some kids will get over excited and try to explore ahead. Especially if they are too young, keeping them in sight is important. If the group is big an adult should be at the beginning of the line and another at the end. Line leaders work well sometimes too.
Learning about Texas history is best when you're out and about. Here are the best places to learn about history!
The Bob Bullock Museum offers a permanent exhibit on Texas history. We like to walk on the second floor and learn about the Austin, Houston, Santana and the independence fight. The third floor is a leap many years later. It displays the oil industry, the music scene and the space race that developed in our beloved state.
During our January Holiday Adventures we visited the Austin Aquarium. It was a great day visit were kids learned a lot about many animals. We saw the expected fish, stingrays and birds and were surprised at the new addition: Lemurs!
The aquarium is specifically tailored to appeal to the younger crowd so we love it. It is very hands on and the tour guides kept us engaged at all times. Speaking of hands on: check out the animals with which we could interact!
The aquarium is open daily from 10am to 7pm so bring your lunch!
Join us in this year's MLK day celebration! Every year the City of Austin remembers Mr. King with a March and Festival. ATX Kids Club is glad to take our kids to this community festival every year! We love the march and the live performances too.
As part of this celebration we like to visit the Texas State Capitol or the LBJ Library to complement a fun day with lot's of learning! Registrations are still open for Garrison Park and Pease Park.