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:
- Bug Spray