Hiking With Kids - Can It Be a Family-Friendly Activity?

Hiking With Kids - Can It Be a Family-Friendly Activity?

Hiking is a great activity when you’re camping. It gets your blood pumping, and lets you see some of the amazing sights that nature has to offer.

But, when you first think about hiking, doing it with a family probably doesn’t come to mind. Heavy backpacks, supplies, long trails, and even potentially risky routes might pop into your head first.

If you’re going camping with your family, though, hiking shouldn’t automatically be a “no” on your list of things to do. It can, in fact, be family-friendly.

Pick Easy, Shorter Trails

You might regularly go hiking for at least half of the day, if not a whole day on your own. It’s an adventure, after all. You don’t mind lugging around a backpack with your supplies, taking breaks as needed, and reaching some kind of “end” location or summit.

With kids, though, you’re likely not going to be able to hike all day. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan out some kind of route. If you’re an avid hiker, you should have no problem putting together a route that allows you to go on a shorter, easy trail. Kids can tire out easily and they might need more frequent breaks. Choosing a shorter trail allows them to experience the adventure of hiking without getting too worn out that they end up hating it.

By routing an easier path, you get to instill a love and appreciation of hiking into your kids, and you get to enjoy it at the same time. As they get more experienced, you can start to introduce them to longer hikes with more difficult terrain.

Turn the Trail Into a Game

If you want to keep kids interested in a certain trail or you want to go on a longer hike, try turning it into a game. Scavenger hunts are a great way to keep kids engaged. Go on the trail ahead of time and leave little “clues” for your family to find. When you reach the final one, have some kind of prize or reward waiting for them.

You can also play other games along the way, like tag or “follow the leader,” where one person is the leader and the others in the group have to mimic every motion that person makes, no matter how silly it may be.

Pack the Right Things

If your kids are old enough, they can bring their own hiking backpack with them, but be sure to keep the weight low (or you may be carrying it for them halfway through the trail). In addition to packing the essentials, put some things in their bag that can be exciting and encouraging for them, like a camera they can use to take pictures of their experience.

You should also be sure to pack healthy, protein-packed portable snacks that they can frequently stop to enjoy. Kids might need an energy boost more often than you do, so make sure you have plenty of snacks in their bag at all times.

Hiking with your kids can be a great bonding experience and an even better way to get them interested in adventure, camping, and nature. Follow some of these simple tips to get started, and you’ll be hitting the trails with your whole family in no time.

Jan 13th 2020 Stacey Koziel

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