Kids are so much fun. Their little minds going 100 miles and hour and processing all the things around us that we typically would ignore. If you plan to go hiking with kids the first and most important thing you need to pack is your patience. Yes, we said it. You need to have patience with them as they find a little caterpillar or want to climb up a tree. Don’t go hiking with a destination that doesn’t allow a little “off the beaten path” exploration. Allow them to explore and be in the present with them while they explore. Answer the questions you can answer and for those that you can’t write them down and look them up when you get home, together.
Taking kids on hiking trips is fun but don’t make the trips so very long that their fond memory turns into a nightmare. Remember, kids have limited time in which something is fun, then they are going to want to move onto something else. Keep the hiking to a minimum of a couple of hours and go where there are fun things to explore and see. Maybe you will find a hidden lake or look for animals. However, with kids, it is kind of hard to find animals as they tend to be a bit noisy. But, squirrels are typically up in the trees and are certainly fun to watch.
Ideas for hiking with kids
Maybe pack a checklist of things to find while on your hike. This can be simple things such as maple leaf (For the younger ones, with a picture.), rock, squirrel, trail, animal, beach, acorn, and so forth. This will give them a fun activity while they are hiking. Because well, hiking, it’s just walking through the woods and once some little ones catch onto that they are going to ask, why? When that comes up, then pull out the activities and have some fun with them!
When hiking with children remember your secret weapon! Snacks! Do not forget the snacks or drinks. They will want them and demand them sooner than most adults. Bring different snacks and pull different ones out at each stop to keep things interesting. Don’t let them know what all you have in the arsenal, to keep them happier.
If the children are small you may want to bring along a stroller as well. Smaller kids don’t want to walk long distances and they can get tired out quickly. Having a stroller will give them a way to rest and still allow you to enjoy the hike together.
For older children and teens, tell them to leave their phones in the car. This will get them away from their screens and be in the present moment. We all love modern technology, however, it can get in the way of real relationships. Just take a phone for emergencies and shut off all its notifications to allow everyone to enjoy each other. Remember this is a great way to connect with your kids. Most importantly, enjoy it and be in the present yourself.