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Norway’s Children Go Outside
News Shorts
Posted: September 05, 2023
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    Children explore a trail in Brekkeskogen, Norway, on August 30, 2023. (Emilie Holtet/NTB via AP)
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    Children take part in a hike offered through the Norwegian Tourism Association in Brekkeskogen, Norway. (Emilie Holtet/NTB via AP)
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    As many as 11,000 pre-school kids hiked routes in Norway this week. (Emilie Holtet/NTB via AP)
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This time of year, most kids are headed back to school. But in Norway, children don’t just stay in the classroom. As many as 11,000 pre-school students hiked around Norway this week.

Children from around 400 daycare centers go outside. They wear outdoor one-piece jumpsuits. They trot through Norwegian landscapes.

“We hope we can inspire the kids to be outdoor children,” says Kristin Oftedal. She works with the Norwegian Trekking Association. That group promotes outside activities. “We believe outdoor children are happy children.”

The great outdoors are important to Norwegians. The country includes waterfalls, glaciers, and mountains. Researchers found that almost all Norwegians took part in some type of outdoor activity in 2021. In the United States, just over half of Americans did.

Many Norwegians like to spend time in nature. They visit cabins in the mountains or by the coast. Volunteers take care of 16,800 miles of hiking and skiing trails.

People like Ms. Oftedal want to make sure the tradition continues. She hopes that students will learn to enjoy nature too.

“Being outdoors is so important for young people, both physically and mentally,” Ms. Oftedal says. “They will learn skills and attitudes that they can bring with them for their whole lives.”

In His hand are the depths of the Earth; the heights of the mountains are His also. The sea is His, for He made it, and His hands formed the dry land. — Psalm 95:4-5