With less children connecting with nature and getting outdoors, orienteering may be just the activity we need to turn that tide.
What is Orienteering?
It is an activity that requires orienteers to find specific sites in the landscape using a detailed map and compass. Orienteers must visit each control site and verify their visit by collecting unique markers from each control site in the course. The route between the control sites is not specified and it is up to the orienteers to navigate their path following the clues provided.
The aim is to navigate in sequence between control points marked on a unique orienteering map and decide the best route to complete the course in the quickest time. – British Orienteering
Benefits for Children
- Provides a safe, fun environment in which to have an adventure
- Great outdoor activity for the whole family
- Challenging adventure sport that provides physical and intellectual development
- Helps develop spatial awareness
- Combines running with decision making and adventure
- Children are allowed the freedom to roam out of sight in a controlled environment
- It encourages children to get muddy and dirty
- Teaches children about the countryside
- Children learn to read maps and navigate
- It’s educational and fun!
There is an excellent introductory activity package you can download for free here:
The following video from NH State Parks also offers some basic skills you will need:
- Orienteering for Children – Primary Times
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- Top 50 Places in the US for Outdoorsy People