Kids and hiking can go together. Hiking with kids is such a great way to bond with your kids and to connect them into the outdoor life. Kids nowadays prefer to stay at home and play with high technology gadgets. Setting up an outdoor adventure like hiking will bring them closer to nature and may even develop in them a potential for enthusiasm to the wild environment. If your kids are enthusiastic about outdoor adventures like hiking and trekking, you will find that there are so many things to do. This experience will be more enjoyable and full of fun for everyone, especially for your kids with these tips for hiking with kids.
Plan the Hike
A thorough plan is essential when your kids ask for a hike this vacation. You really don’t have to go far or head out to the mountains and hills to let your kids experience hiking. You can keep it close to home in cities where historical sites are open for kids. Some sites are located far away. Either way, it'll be a great experience for the kids to have a closer view of the nature as they hike.
When you plan the hike, decide whether you want it somewhere near or somewhere far. Decide whether you will stay for a few days there or just stay for a night on the camping site. When you plan, let the kids be involved. Let them say what they want or what they expect from hiking. From their expectations, you will be able to pick the best place they will enjoy.
Prepare your kids for the hike
If you want the kids to become familiar with new things in the outside world, like mushrooms, other species of plants, rare flowers, and many interesting things in the wild, let them look for them every day wherever they go. Let them explore the things around in school or in parks or in the garden. This will prepare them for the hike, and at the same time, it will excite them more for the scheduled hike when spring breaks come. Another way to prepare your kids for hiking is by teaching them how to use the gear or by teaching them how to read or use maps. Other survival tools that they should learn include the whistle, when and how it is used to give signal, the flashlight, ropes, and other first aid kit for emergency and survival situations.
Choose a Destination
A destination at the end of the hike or along the hike is a good way to encourage the kids to pursue hiking. When you plan the hike, include some destinations that they will surely love. Most kids love the lake or the beach or a cave where they can play and have fun. You may allow the kids to play in the water you tread along as you hike so that they will be able to experience each place. Just make sure that the water is safe for them and that the place is open for the public and for the hikers. When you choose the site or area, see to it that it is child-friendly or that the places to explore are safe for them. Make sure also that the camp site has stations to go to when an emergency happened.
Kids will surely set paces of their own along the journey. Embrace the paces and let them stop to get the whole view in their mind. Let them enjoy the place as long as they want and be open for an instant change of plan just for them to maximize the adventure and the experience. One instance is when they reach a site and finds freshly bloomed flowers on the side or when a rainbow is within their view and they want to take pictures for a while. There are some unexpected turns of events in the wild so expect the kids to become more involved with the nature.
Kids are interested to experience fun and adventure whenever they hear hiking. Your aim here is for them to experience fun. Let them have fun out there and when they are done, leave the area and hop on to the next place. You may have your agenda for them to emphasize fun, but let them lead the activities and do not force your plans or agenda that they find uninteresting. Each hike on each site may vary in length and in experience but whether it lasts only for 10 minutes or it lasts longer until 30 minutes, make sure that they have fun all throughout the hike. Add some thrills and frills by bringing some surprises in your backpack and have them enjoy those along the way.
Keep things interesting
Set up some games like treasure hunting, scavenger, collecting of some interesting things, geocaching, or find as many plant species or animal kinds as they can. As they find and learn new things in the wild, they will become more interested in nature and the wildlife. This can be a great boost to their learning. Wander around the site with the kids and stop to look at bugs, butterflies, moth, or other animals and creatures safe enough to look at. Some sites also have trees and branches safe to climb. Let them be kids and have fun in such a site to complete the nature and wild experience.
Bring extra gear
Aside from jackets, rain coats, hooded sweatshirts, and other protecting gears and clothes to wear to keep the body warm during the cold nights, include other gears such as boots, gloves, and eye glasses. A pair of binoculars is also a great gear when exploring the wild, while a magnifying glass makes things more thrilling and exciting to look at. You may also bring a journal or notebook where your kids can record all the flowers and plants they identify in the field or all the animals and creatures they encounter throughout the hike.
Equip your kids
The wild or the field can be wide enough for the kids to be lost or to be far away from you. They may run faster out in the woods that you can’t keep up with them. To keep them within your reach, equip your kids with knowledge about the right signals to give when in danger or when waiting in one area. A whistle may mean something. Let them know the signs and the standard count of whistles to blow to signal a specific message. A map and a first aid kit should be one of the things they have in their backpacks. But that would be useless if they do not know how to read and use them.
Share responsibilities with your kids
Make each of them responsible not only for the things they bring but also for each one. Let them learn the importance of taking care of and looking after each other. Let them be accountable also of their actions. They should not do anything that will harm other hikers, any plants, or any other living creatures in the area. Let them also have the discipline to avoid littering or leaving traces of trash in the area. Sharing responsibilities with your kids will make them responsible individuals and will also add fun to the adventure.
Bring more than enough foods
Kids will love to explore the wild and the field than to eat a full meal. But a whole day of hiking will make them hungry. Bring some foods and snacks that they may munch on throughout the hike. Bring plenty of treats and snacks even if you planned only for a short hike. You don’t know when kids become hungry.
Another reason why it is best to bring extra snacks is because kids tend to be friendly with other kids they find to share interests with. Encouraging them to share their foods to others will be a cool way to start friendship with others and a way to encourage them to do more future hikes. Don’t forget to bring water as well.
Kids are not the easiest to be with or to have during tough hiking adventures sometimes. But if you know what the kids want and how to deal them, bringing them to the outside world to experience wildlife or to explore the nature is one great time of your life you would not want to miss. Plan your trips and make each moment more enjoyable for everyone. Things may turn out unexpected or your plans may change in an instant. Just let it be and let the kids have fun as long as they are safe and within your control.
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