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Rafting with Kids: More Than Just Fun

Written by Ashlee Sack, 03.22.2016

As summer approaches and you start to consider which activities to fill up your warm, school-less days, we know you want to get the most out of your vacation. Whitewater rafting is undoubtedly one of the most exhilarating and exciting activities that Colorado has to offer, but its benefits extend beyond just fun and frothy whitewater. Rafting with kids also offers some additional health and mental wellness benefits.

Healthy Activity: In the face of rising obesity rates and increasing technological distractions, many of us are realizing that helping our kids live healthy and active lifestyles is one of the most important lessons that we can impart. Engaging in fun, active, challenging activities – like rafting, biking, or hiking – introduces our children to a whole world of healthy activities that they can participate in as they grow up. Cañon City offers a wealth of opportunities to get out and get moving!

whitewater rafting with kids

Whitewater rafting along the Arkansas River in Colorado

Respect for Nature: By engaging with nature on a personal level, our kids learn to love and respect our rivers, open spaces, and beyond. As we leave the environment to our children, we must first instill in them a love of the outdoors, and helping children to take ownership of the environment is a great place to start. As children raft down one of the most popular rivers in the United States, they will be introduced to the idea of conservation and sustainable recreation. Whitewater rafting with kids offers them a unique glimpse into how we use our natural resources. 

whitewater rafting with kidsFamily Memories: Name one of your favorite childhood memories. Chances are you have a few funny, memorable (even if it’s the kind of experience that you “laugh about later”), fantastic memories of your family’s vacations. Create new memories with your own children as you explore Colorado and navigate the always-exciting world of traveling with children. (How DID our parents do it?) One of the greatest aspects of whitewater rafting with kids is that you participate as a family. You’re literally in the same boat, paddling, laughing, and working together to navigate rapids. The looks on your faces (especially from the GoPro footage) will be priceless: We dare you to use one of them as your Christmas card photo.) 

white water rafting with kidsExperiences, not “Things”: When it comes to rewarding our kids, we often tend to purchase material goods. It’s possible, however, that our kids may get more enjoyment out of experiences than they do from “things”. Not only do material goods tend to lose their value as we adapt to their presence in our lives, but it turns out that experiences never lose their value. Unlike material goods, they become part of who we are, how we craft our identity. A new shirt may come and go, but once you’ve tackled whitewater rapids, you are officially a “whitewater rafter”. (And maybe they’ll even grow up to work as a whitewater rafting guide in the summer!)

Mental health benefits: The National Wildlife Federation notes that time spent in the outdoors has some significant mental health benefits for kids, including enhancing imagination and attention span, decreasing aggression, and boosting classroom performance. When you slow down, especially to the pace of a river, and relax, kids are given time to escape from the usual hustle and bustle of a normal day.

Background knowledge: From learning more about geology, geography, and history, Colorado is a veritable classroom. You may find that your raft guide has plenty to offer in terms of interesting tidbits of information about the local flora and fauna, but the best teacher often seems to be nature itself, which reveals lessons at every turn of the river or bighorn sheep sighting.

As summer approaches and your calendar begins to fill up, consider adding a whitewater rafting trip to your itinerary. We’ve been taking families down the Arkansas River for over 30 years and love sharing what we love doing with kids and adults alike. Give us a call and let us help you plan a memorable trip for your family!

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About the Author

Ashlee has been living and rafting in Colorado for over a decade. She loves exploring and sharing all the best of the Royal Gorge Region with her husband and two little boys.
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