I know we’re deep into back-to-school season right now and we’re all lamenting the loss of family vacation time a bit, but I need to take a time-out from all of that today and tell you about another super fun activity our family has been LOVING lately.
First, the backstory… about 2 years ago my husband started training with a group of people from work for a Spartan Races.
If you’re not familiar, these are extreme obstacle course races outside in the elements. Think crawling in the mud, sliding under barbed wire, scaling walls, lugging around ridiculously heavy weights and running. So. Much. Running.
Not gonna lie- at first, I thought he was crazy and that this new hobby of his would never last. But last month he completed his 9th race in two years!!
In that time we’ve talked a lot with our kids about what Daddy has been up to and it’s had such a positive impact on not only my hubby, but our entire family, that we just couldn’t resist getting the kiddos in on the action too.
Yep, they have this insanity for kids too – and it’s pretty much the greatest thing they could ever imagine.
Before we get to that, though, a discount code just for MPMK Readers:
Children of all abilities are welcome to come climb, crawl, run, get muddy, and become a Spartan with family and friends September 7th & 8th in Snohomish, WA. Join a community of people who never give up- AROO!
Three years ago our then 6-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son entered their first race. As expected, they had a blast and started begging to do it again pretty much as soon as it ended… Fast forward to two years later and even our 3-year-old got in on the action and next week he’ll complete his 3rd annual race alongside his brother and sister.
If you’re wondering, no, the kids’ version of the Spartan is not meant to be nearly as brutal as it’s adult counterpart.
Spartan Kids is a half mile (suggested age 4-6), one mile (suggested age 7-9), and two mile (required age 10-14) course with competitive racing available for two mile racers in age groups 10-11 and 12-14.
Top three racers in each competitive two mile age group and gender receive a podium award ceremony with our adult Elite and Age Group winners along with free entry into the 2019 Spartan Kids World Championships later this year. Everything is scaled appropriately to their level and big kids can also compete in time trials.
One of the coolest things? It’s all going on at the same time as adults are running their races… It pumps the kids up so much to see the adult racers and to feel like they’re truly part of the experience in a really authentic way.
Is it fun? YES. Do the kids love it? YES Is that all there is to it? NO!
My kids get so many positive takeaways from their Spartan experience. And they learn them through real-life experiences instead of just through my words- which is so much more impactful.
Spartan Kid Lesson #1 – We Can Do Hard Things
This is something I talk about a lot on the blog and we talk about a lot at home. We all know by now that one of the best things we can do for our kids is to instill within them a growth mindset in which they understand that failure is not only ok… it’s an essential part of the learning process.
When I watch my kiddos fall off an obstacle, or slip in the mud, only to get back up and try again- I know that they’re learning this lesson in the most tangible way possible.
And the pride that comes beaming out of their little faces when they overcome an obstacle? Just about the best thing ever.
Spartan Kid Lesson #2 – We Work Together
Before the kids entered their first race, we talked with them a lot about how Daddy’s Spartan team never leaves a member behind. If somebody can’t climb a rope or get over a wall, the other members of the team will literally lift them onto their shoulders to get them up and over.
I can’t tell you the amount of pride I felt about this lesson truly sticking when I saw my son helping his little sister to drag her weight during their first race, or when he helped his little brother over the wall during their second.
One of my biggest goals as a mom is to teach my kids to have each other’s backs… Does that mean they always get along or even always like each other? Nope.
But I want them to know that when they really need it, they’ll be there for each other.
Spartan Kid Lesson #3 – Being Active is Awesome!
It’s no secret our kids are growing up surrounded by screens like no generation before. So it’s a priority for us to make sure we’re modeling for our kids the importance of being active, getting outside, and seeing just what their bodies can do.
There’s something especially wonderful about watching my daughter complete an obstacle she didn’t think she could. I can literally see her self-confidence growing right before my eyes.
Spartan Kid Lesson #4 – It’s Fun to Spend Time With My Family
With a nearly 6 year age spread between my oldest and youngest children, finding a family activity that everyone gets super excited about isn’t always easy. We’ve found that the kids take such pride in earning their race medals, and have such a good time in the process, that all three of them absolutely love it.
Afterall, from 2 to 20, what kid doesn’t love playing in the mud?!
We all really love counting down the days to the race together, driving up to the course full of anticipation, and cheering everybody on as they run. And, of course, there’s always a medal and a celebratory treat afterward too.
If you think the Spartan Race experience is something your family will enjoy, I highly encourage you to check it out. And who knows, we might just see you there!
*Spartan Races kindly provided free race entrance to my husband and kids for their latest race in return for this honest review. All opinions are 100% my own.