Tips for Hiking with Kids

Posted by Gabby Tinner on

We believe that hiking with children doesn't have to be a chore. We want to you to be able to get out the same way you did before! Employees of My Trail have hiked with children ranging from 6 months to 12 years old and here is what we have discovered!

1. Let the kids help plan! 

If the kids are apart of the planning they are more likely to enjoy it. Often, when hiking with kids we look for the flattest or shortest distance trails, but if you engage your kiddos in the discussion you may find that they want to do something a little more challenging. By allowing them to help pick out harder trails they are taking responsibility of what terrain they will have to cover and gain a bigger sense of pride once it is accomplished.

2. Take breaks.

This one may be more obvious, but plan tons of breaks. Kids of all ages aren't used to walking for long periods of time so plan short breaks to prevent burnout and fatigue. We have found that instead of asking if they need water or if they need a rest, it is more practical to already plan to stop for 2-5 minutes every 20 minutes. This will assist in building endurance and also prevent delayed restarts.


3.  Know the views and facts.

As many of you know kids will have tons of questions, so be prepared! If you don't know the area of the trail, we suggest looking up interesting information up about the area so that you can point out bugs, animals, plants, and views that will engage them. Kids enjoy the stimulation of learning and experiencing new things more than the quiet of the outdoors. 

4. Let them bring a friend.

While more kids on a hike may seem overwhelming, it helps kids stay excited. They will be with someone that they enjoy being around and ultimately have more fun. Give them a project too. We have found with our tweens, play to what they know already...let them bring a phone or camera and challenge them to take landscape photos or the best selfie.



Additional things to bring:

- Snacks

-Extra water


- Bug Spray 




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  • I let my son pick out special candy before a long hike and I offer it to him as energy breaks. He loves the special treat and buys into the psychology that he’s getting an extra boost from the snack. It does wonders for his endurance on hikes.

    Patty Laushman on

  • Oh! I forgot to add! I also do carry, climb,scamper, crawl,and tumble challenges as we cruise….I’d there are some rocks, I will challenge a distance carry( of which on the return we will replace them from their home,if possible) if we spot a rocky outcrop that’s doable, I’ll point it out as climbable, and they we will climb it… probably get the gist on the other activities too! It a blessed wonderland adventure for us all each time!

    Jona on

  • I have found that when taking my kids and now taking my grandkids out on hikes….I refere to them as going out on adventures….and we often chose areas that I too have never hiked….and I let the kids choose whatever they’d like to bring as supplies…..I pick one of us to take ‘lead scout position’ on a rotation (of my choosing as I scope the fit of skill and challenge as it suits the terrain and the growth offered the character and heart of my kiddos) I hardly ever invite friends, since these have been uniquely precious time of bonding with my children and grandchildren?

    Jona on

  • Simple toys are fun and motivating too. These include a set of binoculars, a magnifying glass, or a bucket and shovel to collect dirt, rocks, pine cones, etc.
    Also, games such as ‘I Spy’ or ‘Hide and go seek’ on the trail keep my little hikers (ages 2 and 4) motivated.
    Oh and for them, snacks! Lots of snacks! And then, even some more snacks!!
    Love hiking with the kids!!!

    Erin on

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