Bringing your kids along on a hike is a great way to introduce them to nature and all of the wonderful benefits that the outdoors can bring, but often times it’s hard to keep them entertained on the trail.
Whether it’s their first time joining you on a hike or they come along every weekend for regular family walks, you need to ensure you’re keeping their attention and making the hike enjoyable so that they continue to stay engaged and involved. Here are just a few ways you can add some fun to your family hikes so that you kids will truly enjoy their time outdoors.
Who doesn’t love hunting for treasure? This is not only a fun way to get your kids engaged in hiking, but the adults will enjoy it too. Before setting off on a hike, prepare a list and give one to each of the kids to take along with them along with a small paper bag.
On the list, you can add items such as “brown leaf” and “stick with three twigs” and encourage your children to fill their treasure bag on the hike. As you come to an end, encourage the children to place the items back in the area so that you can teach them the importance of leaving things as they are when hiking.
The quickest way to lose a child’s interest is by implementing a bunch of rules and regulations onto something they enjoy. Try not to have too much planned for your hike, and instead allow the children to explore the area as they go.
While you’re hiking, you can play a range of games to keep them entertained and energized too. Simple ones such as “I Spy” can provide hours of entertainment and the whole family will be able to get involved. It’s also a great way to teach them about different plant and animal species in the area too.
During your hike, allocate one leader at a time and allow them to walk at the front of the group. This chosen person will be the leader, and they’ll be encouraged to motivate the other hikers and point out interesting facts about the wildlife around them.
Every half hour or so, choose a new leader, ensuring everyone gets a turn fairly. This will not only keep the children motivated but give them a chance to take on some adult responsibility in a safe and fun way too.
While we want to plan as much in advance as we can on a hike, this changes quite a bit when we bring children along. Having kids on the hike with you means your time schedule won’t be as regulated, and that’s okay too.
Allow for extra time so that the children can explore or even slow down at certain points if they’re becoming uninterested or tired. Don’t expect that they will have as much energy as you for the entire day, and allow them to dawdle for a bit if they wish.
Having planned and regular stops throughout the hike can help your children have something to look forward to. Fun energy breaks should be full of yummy snacks and water, as well as a chance to discuss what their favorite parts of the hike have been so far. Be sure to pack foods that will give them energy now and not later, and lots of water too.
When they have something to look forward to it may spur them on, especially when they’re feeling low on energy. Point out a spot ahead and let them know that once you reach it, it’s time to stop for a snack and a drink. Once they’ve had a snack, they’ll be revived and ready to continue on in high spirits.
Getting your kids involved in the wonder of hiking now means you’re teaching them the importance of the environment and caring for planet earth. Even from a young age, you can take your child along, provided you find some tot-friendly walking tracks that suit their requirements.
Taking your kids hiking is one of the most important memories they’ll cherish, as it’s not only a great family bonding experience but full of educational and health benefits too. Whether it’s a Sunday afternoon hike or a few days away camping, they’ll truly value the wonderment of hiking when it’s made more enjoyable for them.