Slowing down life has become a trending topic as the world becomes more entwined in technology. We are more connected than ever before in history, but amidst the connection we find ourselves wanting to disconnect. This is often easier said than done, and even when it is done we continue to turn to social media to share how we’ve disconnected or embraced a slower lifestyle with our hashtags, #slowliving. The irony of using and looking at hashtags such as #getoutside and #keepitwild from your phone or computer screen shows only what you are missing, what you yourself are not doing because instead, you’re stuck behind your screen.
When you look at your life and your family what memories will you cherish? Will you think back to that time you found that cat-meme or do you want to remember enjoying the world around you rock hunting in the creek outside town? It’s time to get rid of the excuses and get obsessed with outside.
Have you ever jumped into a pool to feel a shock in temperature change only to become easily and comfortably adjusted only moments later? Don’t base your experience on what the outside feels like at first or what it looks like, our eyes can be deceiving. My son has woken up and looked out the window, declared it to be cold out because he didn’t see the sun. When he walked out the door he found it was a warm, balmy day. We see snow and we think cold when it might be a nice, sunny day. Cold, hot, snowing, raining. Unless the weather is dangerous there’s no such thing as bad weather. “It’s snowing” is not an excuse to stay indoors, especially for children. We wear mittens, hats, coats and boots, all these things help us enjoy the outdoors. The right gear makes all the difference, especially when it’s snowing. Grab your coat, grab your gloves and get outside. Step out the door and give outside a try with the same enthusiasm that you would with the most beautiful day you can imagine.
Free outdoor play encourages creativity, engineering, imagination, ingenuity, brain development, and immune system development. More and more junk playgrounds are popping up in around the country. These are just what they sound like. Old wood, car parts, tools, pretty much anything. By letting kids play outside the structured parameters that adults set for them they are free to develop skills and test ideas that will continue to aid them throughout their lifetime, as their creativity knows no bounds they can explore, and problem solve on their own. There’s no need to travel to or create your own junk yard playground, instead, let your kids build and explore without micromanaging them. Allowing their creative juices to flow through their hands and imaginations can spark so much in their minds! Who knows, you might have a budding little architect on your hands! Let your children wander their habitat, if there is a greenspace or any sort of outdoor trail system in your area let them lead without interference. They don’t have to stay on the trails (unless the signs tell you to), let them move, climb, wade, and get as dirty as they want.
Living in bigger cities isn’t an excuse to avoid the outdoors. Sure, there may not be a trail around the corner, but you can still go outside. Finding bugs, birds, different shapes of leaves, these things make up our world. Your small fry sees a lot more of this nature around them than a normal adult. Going outside, walking to the store, the park, any of these things automatically brings nature to your child. Have 3 hours on a weekend? Take them to a nearby preserve, allow them to explore the natural world around them. The most important part is saying yes and finding that time to walk out the door, get courageous, dress appropriately and get outside.
Dirt, bugs, grass, snow, mud. These things make up the world around us and are all part of a healthy ecosphere. We should teach our kids that they are a part of nature, not that it is something to be avoided. Nature is an important part of our human health, not just for food but it also aids in our immunity, vision, mental health and vitamin intake. Sunlight alone creates vitamin D in our bodies. Teaching our kids to avoid the puddles is warning them to stay away from nature. Consider why they must stay out of the puddle? You don’t want them to splash you? Even if they don’t have the proper footwear, walking home with wet socks squishing water back between your toes is a life experience everyone should have.
Walking around your block in the summer and you will greet kids riding their bikes and people tending to their lawns or just enjoying the sun. Walk around the block in the winter and you’ll wave at bundled up people shoveling their walk or scraping ice off their windshield. By walking around your neighborhood, you show that you are a part of that community and it allows you to see who else shares your little corner of the world. When we go straight from our house to our car to our work then back again we don’t get a chance to step out and see who our neighbors really are. When we really join and participate in a community, we find our comrades. The people in your neighborhood are some of the people you will have the most in common with. When it’s a community you dwell in daily you have easy access to the support that a community provides and better, you become of a supporter of the community you live in.
Structured sports provide many benefits, but they don’t inspire exploration and the slow-paced freedom to move that helps facilitate falling in love with outside. You might be outside, but the goal is to participate in that direct sport, not to soak in the world around you. Make time after that soccer practice or swimming lesson to enjoy the park, eat lunch in the grass, explore your surroundings.
Walk to the store, bike to school together, water your garden by hand, go for a jog, a run, a hike. Feeling fatigued? Get outside. Feeling stressed? Get outside. Trouble concentrating, sleeping, thinking? Getting outside is profoundly important and beneficial to our health overall. Purposefully spending time outside will unquestionably make a positive influence on your life and it will also set an example and a lifestyle that your child will be accustomed to.
If you’re a parent you’ve been pummeled with photos of children’s lunches being made into animal shapes and story boards. Go to the grocery store and you’re presented with millions of options of boxed foods. Our efforts have made a simple human need beyond complicated. Children don’t need monkey-shaped sandwiches or easy-mac, if eating is to become an experience it can be done much more easily by learning from good ol’ Mother Nature. Memories are made growing your own food, foraging while hiking, and learning that carrots have green stuff on top and can make a variety of cone-like shapes, that they don’t grow in the shape of smooth thumbs. We can make healthy foods enjoyable for kids without having to trick them by adding pureed greens into their pancakes. Take their hand, let them dig, plant seeds and eat directly out of the garden. Go out for a walk in your local greenspace and see if you can find any herbs growing in the wild. Take a field guide with you so that you can point out what plants are edible, what are weeds, which mushrooms to stay away from, learn as you go. These tangible, hands-on skills are fun for children (and adults) and they create knowledge that will carry on throughout their life. Recognizing plants and growing your own food will serve your child far deeper than learning how to order at the local deli.
Spending time outside every day sounds daunting especially on days that you just don’t feel like it. Creating a routine will help you get outside on days that you struggle for motivation or don’t have other outdoor activities planned. Just because you went for a walk that morning doesn’t mean you should skip your routine. Routines are the set practice of your purpose, everything else is just extra pieces of your life. Making a point to ride your bike around your neighborhood for 10 minutes a day after work, walk with your kids down to the park every Tuesday and Thursday evenings or any regular outdoor activity that you know you are scheduling and following through with.
When you think back to the best experiences of the last month, the year or of your lifetime how many of them happened behind a screen? How many happy times were because you were staring at your phone in your hand? I’m going to guess none. Make a list of what you want to experience, start with things in your town then slowly widen your lens to include your more ambitious dreams. Then, start checking things off your list! You can include your kids in the list too, what do they want to do? What do you want to do together? Even if your list includes items that aren’t kid friendly (maybe you want to start ice climbing?) you’ll still be inspiring them to get out and become obsessed with the outdoors.
We usually associate riding bikes with sunny skies and warm weather. For most of us, storing our bike in the garage until that first snow thaw is a common practice. After all, riding a bike in sub-zero temperatures isn’t something that many of us are itching to do. However, not all winter temperatures hit that sub-zero mark, and not all bikes need to be stored for the winter. In fact, Strider Balance Bikes make an excellent snow toy for children.
When we developed the Strider Snow Skis, we wanted to create an accessory that would keep kids on their bikes throughout the winter. At Strider Bikes, we’re completely focused on the rider’s progression as the child gets comfortable with their bike. We created the Strider Snow Skis because we didn’t want children to get comfortable with their bike, only to have to put it away once the snow starts to fall. Strider Snow Skis are our most popular accessory and turn any Strider 12 Pro, Classic, or Sport into a totally awesome ski bike for your child.
It’s difficult enough for adults to stay active during the winter, let alone trying to find winter activities for a child or toddler. Between cold temperatures and snow piled up so high it makes going anywhere difficult, the Strider Snow Skis are the perfect option for a winter toy that keeps children on their bike and learning to balance but also gets them outside and active. By keeping them familiar with their Strider Bike, these skis help facilitate the Strider progression process between rider and bike.
Strider Snow Skis are the perfect tool to keep training your little one to learn how to balance because they rely on the same concepts as learning to ride a Strider without snow. To control speed, a skier has to curve their descent. They do this by traveling at an angle, carving into the mountain slowing down slightly, and changing the direction of their descent. Not only does the Strider Ski Set help children continue to learn how to balance, but it also helps children learn more about leaning into turns to help control steering.
Get the Genuine Strider Snow Ski Accessory for all Strider 12″ bikes
The snow skis work great on the local sledding hill and take sledding with the neighborhood kids to a whole new level. There are also many ski lodges that allow Strider Bikes with skis onto the bunny/children’s slopes. Getting kids out and active during the winter helps teach them that they can be active no matter what season it is. Strider Snow Skis help children to enjoy the snow piles in a way that they never could: on two wheels.
As with the regular Strider Bike, let your child be the boss with the Strider Snow Skis. Remember, you want to be a cheerleader, not a coach. Letting your child explore his or her own way with the Strider Snow Skis attached is the best way to enable them to keep growing their passion for a life on two wheels.
There’s no reason to think that a little snow means the Strider has to go away for the winter. In fact, thanks to its superior design and engineering, taking it out into the snow won’t hurt it one bit. Add the Strider Snow Ski attachment, and you’ve got a snow toy for your child that provides a great way for them to continue bonding with their Strider and progressing through the fundamentals of balance.
Moving across the country is an adventure that not every kid wants to take on, but a tour of your favorite bike headquarters might make it worth it!
We received an email from a family that was doing just that, moving from California to New York, driving the entire distance with their 5-year old son in tow. To make the long road trip fun, they planned out some exciting stops including Yellowstone National Park and right here in Striderville!
Knowing how much 5-year-old Davin loves his Strider Bike, Mom thought that stopping at Strider Bikes International Headquarters would be a perfect surprise. They had heard we were about to release something new, but had no idea that their visit would coincide perfectly with the release of our brand-spanking-new Strider 14x Sport, a bike we created for kids just like Davin! When Monday morning rolled around and we were eager, we love visitors and we couldn’t wait to see what Davin thought of the Strider 14x. When the family arrived that morning, they were greeted by our friendly and charming Jennifer, who showed Davin all the ins and outs, ups and downs of our work play place.
Because it was release day, we had a couple fresh out of the box, Strider 14x Sport bikes set up in our lobby. Jennifer, parents, and grandparents all cheered Davin to get on one and try it out but he was hesitant about the unfamiliar bike. He was more excited to see all the versions of his bike (the 12″ Sport) on the walls.
Davin pressed Jennifer to “see more, see more!” wanting to experience every inch of what was going on here at Strider World Headquarters. Eventually, Davin did get to the “see more” part that is our warehouse, and definitely the most fun area of our headquarters.
Then, the riding began.
Here at Strider Bikes, we believe in working hard and playing hard. Nolan, one of our hardest workers, was the lucky one to get all the play time with Davin and his family.
Davin started out on his tried and true, blue 12″ Sport, Nolan on the 20″Sport. Nolan wasn’t afraid to beat our guest around the track but, was instead shown a thing or two when Davin continued to be faster! Davin was such a strong Strider rider he was able to maneuver easily all around the cones, leaving Nolan in the dust. Grandpa, Mom, and Dad could only watch for so long before they had to join in on the fun, cruising along on 20″ Strider Bikes. After what might have been 100 laps around the track Nolan asked Davin if he wanted to try the bigger bike.
The 14x Sport is a balance bike with pedals.
After Davin’s reluctance in our lobby to get on the 14x we were unsure about his reaction to getting off his trusty 12″ to try the 14x on the track. While everyone was busy zooming around Nolan thought he might be more willing to give it a go, so he snuck out to grab the 14x from the lobby. As soon as Nolan returned Davin was checking out the new bike. Nolan mentioned the word “faster” and that was all Davin needed to hear. He hopped right on the 14x and took off, leaving Nolan in the dust yet again.
Riding the Awesome Blue 14x, Davin immediately became comfortable as he adjusted to the new bike. It was an easy transition, with even more room for his legs to run. He was gliding and sliding all around our warehouse track, building confidence and speed. Davin raced for over an hour on the new 14x. Unfortunately, it eventually became time for the family to get back on the road.
Davin, like most 5-year-olds, was not thrilled with the idea of leaving. He posed for some photos, said goodbye’s (mostly to the bikes) and then started to cry because he wasn’t yet ready to leave. Poor kid was having to leave “his best bike ever” to get into the car yet again.
We were just as sad to see him leave but it gave us all the warm and fuzzies knowing that Davin’s mom snuck back inside and bought him a brand-new Strider 14x shipped directly to his new home. Davin just turned 6 this last weekend and opened his new 14x, we are ecstatic that he now has his own “best bike ever!”
The things that can be done on two wheels is truly amazing! Once again Danny Macaskill (One of our favorites) is helping to inspire and redefine the limits of what is “possible”.
Check out this amazing video of Danny showing off his, often heart stopping, riding abilities in his native Scotland. After you’re done watching with your STRIDER Rider make sure to spend some time on two wheels with them today!
Kids are great imitators, as any of you with STRIDER riders of your own already know. Check out this little 2 year old kickstarting his KTM STRIDER in the rain.
He has some trouble, but eventually gets it going.
Now get outside on have some fun!
Every once in a while we get an email from a concerned parent saying, “We bought our son a STRIDER and he just isn’t interested” or “Our daughter will ride for a couple minutes, but she doesn’t seem to be getting it”.
There may be many reasons these questions arise, but the leading cause may simply be boredom. Below are a couple games you can play with your STRIDER rider that will be fun for them and also work on their STRIDER skills. Whether they are just beginning or have mastered balance these suggestions should help motivate your rider to get in the saddle!
1. Run Over My Foot – This is a great way to get the youngest STRIDER riders moving around and can be played anywhere. Keep moving your foot as they get close to running it over, but make sure you let them get you once in a while. Make it even more fun by rolling around on the floor in fake agony! The downside to this game is they may run over random feet when out for a ride…
2. Follow the leader – If you have a STRIDER group this is an easy way for everyone to have fun. Pick one rider as “the leader”. Encourage the leader to speed up, slow down, ride in circles, and weave around objects. Every couple of minutes yell out the name of the new leader. This is a favorite at my house when riding with my kids. As your STRIDER rider progesses add more advanced skills when you’re the leader: ride off a small curb, pop a wheelie, lead them in a figure eight, stand up, or encourage them to lift their feet up.
3. Chalk Lines – This is an especially good one for kids hesitant to fully trust their balance skills. Use sidewalk chalk to draw two lines. The goal is to have both feet off the ground from one line to the next. Start with the lines relatively close to each other. As their balance abilities increase draw the lines further apart. I’ve also used this game to work on more advanced striding skills like; Use of the Launchpad Footrests on the frame of the STRIDER while they are balancing and even standing on the footrests between lines.
4. Red Light, Green Light – In this game, you are the “stop light”. Stand about 15-20 feet away from your STRIDER rider(s). When you face away yell, “Green Light”. The kids can ride towards you until you yell, “Red Light” and turn around. The goal is for them to stop before you turn around. The first person to touch the “stop light” wins. The added benefit is that your rider will have it drilled into them to stop when you yell “Red Light” when they get too far ahead of you or you need them to stop!
Remember, the key to STRIDER success is fun! Get out on your bike with your kids…these games may rekindle your own love of 2 wheeled adventure as well! Stride On
Here’s a reminder from Kai, age 2, to get back in the saddle!
This fun video speaks for itself. Now get outside and “Find Your Greatness“!
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