Since we’re the Bare Soles Explorer’s, we will start off with a shoe-free adventure. Barefoot hiking is a fun activity everyone can enjoy. Contrary to popular belief, your feet will quickly adjust as you hike. Because feet are flexible, clingier, and more tactile than shoes, bare feet often provide better stability, increased environmental awareness, heightened proprioception (awareness of the position and movement of the body), and better balance when on the trail. Additionally, it offers a sensory experience that you (and your children) will enjoy. “The sensations from every part of the earth’s surface—leaves, rocks, soil—will leave you with a more full and dynamic hiking experience”.
For your first few shoeless hikes: choose a short trail, preferably one you’ve hiked before, which has a softer surface such as dirt or sand. Walk slowly, watch your step, and enjoy nature. Before long, your feet will strengthen, and your balance align allowing you to hike further on more rocky terrain.
To be part of the Bare Soles Explorers mission, your adventures don’t have to be barefoot, it’s just a fun thing to do. We hope you’ll get out and travel shoes on or shoes off, because that is what’s important! Our mission is to encourage children to get off the computer and get outside and learn from their environment.
Road tripping with children is a great way for them to experience different places, environments, and cultures. Picking destinations with cultural and historical significance turns a fun trip into a learning experience. Take time to stop and visit roadside attractions focusing less on tourist-oriented destinations. And be sure to take plenty of photos.
Looking to explore on the water? Canoeing and kayaking offer the means to get you there. A perfect activity for you or your entire family. Many state parks offer daily rentals. If you’re into longer, more scenic paddles, many canoe and kayak trails exist through the country. In our local state, designated trails even offer bookable camping shelters for overnight trips. Whether you’re on a day trip or overnight trip, paddling your way along a picturesque creek or mountain stream is a great way to get outdoors and get your adventure started.
If you’re into scavenger hunts, geocaching fits as a great outdoor activity. Hunting for a cache is exciting and helps to instill perseverance in the young at heart. If you’ve never heard of geocaching, it’s simple: download one of the many free geocaching apps to your phone, search where you are or at a favorite destination, and follow the map and clues to locate the cache. Caches range in size from pill containers to an ammo can. They may be hidden in a tree, a log, or just camouflaged on the ground.
Some are easy to locate while others will take some serious searching. Caches are hidden everywhere. They may be in a local park, in a parking lot or at a school. If you prefer hunting away from the crowds; search your local state park and see what caches are available. Geocaching is an activity that your family will enjoy. Looking to get started quickly, visit geocaching.com and start hunting today.
Ready to rest under a starlit sky? Camping will get you into the heart of nature. Whether you set your tent at a local campground or at a primitive site along a trail, the stories told around a roaring campfire will not soon be forgotten. Camping is a great way to slow down and reconnect with your family. Take off your shoes, sit back, eat s’mores, and share the time with friends and family. If it’s your child’s first time, set a tent up in your backyard and enjoy a moonlight night close to home. Don’t have a tent? Why not give hammock camping a try!
If your community has a botanical garden, you may find it a great place to unwind. Many not only showcase a variety of flowers, plants, and scrubs, but also unique sculptures, art, and cultures. Shed your shoes and let your feet have a sensory experience on the variety of trail surface – sand, gravel, wood chips, even recycled rubber. Carry a blanket and settle into a quiet space to bathe in nature or dig into a good book.
Some gardens may even be home to barefoot trails offering the opportunity to feel the ground and other various materials by walking through an obstacle course designed to help strengthen foot and leg muscles. More prominent in Europe, these types of nature exhibitions are becoming more widespread. Check your local park connections to see if one exists in your area.
More Outdoor Adventure Ideas
- Animal parks, Wildlife Parks or Zoos
- Baseball or Softball
- Beach combing
- Camping and RV Camping
- Canoeing or kayaking
- Climb a rock wall
- Create your own barefoot Sensory Path
- Fishing, freshwater or saltwater
- Flying kites
- Football and Soccer
- Go Karting
- Mini Golf
- Model airplanes, helicopters or drones
- Model Rockets
- Paddle boarding
- Pickle ball
- Road biking, mountain biking or BMX
- Rock Climbing
- Running, jogging or trail running
- Slack line
- Snorkeling or Scuba Diving
- Tree Climbing
- Tug of War
- Ultimate Frisbee
- Wade into a river, lake or ocean
- Water Fights
- Whitewater Rafting
- Wildlife watching
- Windsurfing or Kiteboarding