Hiking Tip #!:
Keep it fun!
Hiking is a fun way to introduce kids to the outdoors and instill a lifelong love of nature. Here are some tips on how to make family hikes a positive experience for everyone. Turn your hike into an adventure! Keep kids actively engaged exploring, observing, and discovering new things on the trail.
- Keep it short and close to home to ensure a positive experience. As your child grows and gains endurance and strength you can increase the length of your hikes.
- Let your child set the hiking pace; their legs are shorter than yours.
- Plan destination hikes to rivers, waterfalls, lakes, or awesome views. Kids feel such a sense of accomplishment when they reach their destination.
- Be flexible, though. Turn back early if needed to ensure an enjoyable and comfortable experience for your family.
- Turn your hike into a scavenger hunt. Look for: feathers, pinecones, heart shaped rocks, birds, bird nests, squirrels, spider webs, slugs, animal tracks, flowers, etc.
- Sing songs on your hike. My sing-along story, “On the Trail”, adds to the adventure and teaches trail etiquette at the same time.
- Increase the fun factor by bringing cool outdoor gadgets: a bug box, binoculars, or a butterfly net.
- Stop a lot to enjoy the view.
- Be prepared with plenty of water and lots of fun snacks. Take frequent snack breaks along the way. Pace the hike by saying, “Let’s stop for a snack at the next patch of shade” or “We’ll eat a snack at the top of this hill”, etc.
- Be prepared with sunscreen, bug spray, first aid kit, and a cell phone.
- Bring the right clothing. Wear layers and pack extra clothes for the kids, in case they get cold or wet while exploring.
- Take lots pictures. You are creating lasting family memories.