Riding a bike offers learning in disguise. It provides an opportunity to experience new things, build skills, share knowledge, tell stories, adventure and make positive transport choices.
Teaching children to ride a bike is a gift that will last their entire lifetime. It’s not just about ability, skills and coordination, it’s about quality time, shared experiences and life skills.
Children who ride build resilience. When they fall off, they get back on. They learn to deal with the planning, logistics and challenges of the day. Cycling fosters healthy habits, respect for the environment, and confidence that comes from the sense of accomplishment.
Introducing kids to an established and easy ride like the Hauraki Rail Trail comes with multiple benefits. Fortunately kids are pretty portable, and with the right child seat or trailer, there’s no need to wait until they’re cycling independently.
We’ve put together a few ideas to help engage young children, so you can encourage them to cycle with you more often, and further.
A diary is a great way for kids to record their own memories of the trip. Help them write a few questions for them to think about during their ride. Where did we ride? How far did we go? What did we see? What happened along the way? What was my favourite part?
Kids love a glue stick! A scrapbook is an ideal way for them to keep their postcards, train tickets, drawings and other mementos together. A handful of coloured pencils will entertain artistic adventurers, and they’ll love seeing their masterpiece on the fridge back at home.
A few simple facts are a great way to remember things about the trip. Recording distances gives them a sense of accomplishment, and improves their maths. The Rail Trail is brimming with history, which they’ll experience along the Trail or from a museum visit.
A basic camera makes for a great boredom buster. It's fun, instills curiosity and let’s them create their own memories. They can snap away to their hearts content and print off the best photos for their scrapbook.
Preparation is key to get the most from a day in the saddle. A manageable job will keep them busy and give them a sense of responsibility. Let them help make and pack the snacks, check the weather, or fill up water bottles.
Whether it’s a few hours or days of riding, finishing any adventure feels great and is a major accomplishment. Celebrate your achievement together and have fun making some certificates, medals or badges.
No matter how slowly or far you want to ride, if you’re ready for a family adventure there’s a great option for everyone. If you need a little inspiration to help plan a manageable itinerary, check out Short Easy Bike Rides.
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