27 Essential Tips To Keep In Mind While Hiking With Children

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Hiking with kids is a wonderful opportunity to allow your child to explore nature and spend some quality time with them. It helps bring the family closer and create beautiful memories. The activity becomes not about beginning from a point to reaching the finishing point. Instead, it becomes an activity involving fruitful exploration of various things you will see in nature, such as the trees, birds, and even insects.

The right preparation is essential to make hiking exciting and rewarding for children. Read on to know about the benefits of hiking with your children and some tips to make your hiking experience memorable and exciting.

Benefits Of Hiking With Kids

Hiking with children offers a plethora of benefits (1) (2) (3) (4). Read on to know more.

  • Helps bond with family: Hiking is an excellent activity for families to bond and have a good time outdoors.
  • Helps learn about nature: It provides your children an opportunity to learn about nature. It helps them learn about wildlife, plants, animals, and various other things the trail has to offer.
  • Helps exercise together: Hiking is a healthy hobby that allows the family to exercise together as they walk the trail. It also helps children develop agility and balance and improves heart health.
  • Boosts problem-solving skills: Hiking activities are a great way to develop your children’s problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
  • Helps build confidence: As children learn to make decisions and test their limits while hiking, they become more confident about themselves.
  • Improves mood: Spending time in nature is a great way to relieve stress, calm anxiety, improve your heart rate, and elevate your mood.

27 Tips To Make Hiking With Kids Fun And Adventurous

Keep the following tips in mind while hiking with children to ensure you have a safe and fun hiking experience as a family.

1. Be realistic

This is an essential tip to keep in mind when going on a hike with kids. Be practical enough to understand that children might not always enjoy it, and do not expect them to go beyond their potential.

2. Start early

When hiking with children, it is vital to start early so that you cover the trail before it gets too hot.

3. Keep them hydrated

Carry a water bottle to ensure your children are hydrated all through the adventure. It is also a good idea to carry a spray bottle while hiking during the hot season to keep children cool and comfortable. Whenever they feel sweaty or tired, spray some water on their face to refresh them.

4. Pack healthy food

Hiking with children becomes more convenient when they are fed occasionally. This is one of the most basic needs of children and must not be ignored. Carry some of your children’s favorite snacks and chocolates along with healthy food options. This is a wonderful way to bring a smile to their cute faces when they are tired.

5. Pick proper hiking gear

It is crucial to pick proper hiking gear for children. This will not only keep them comfortable and protected, but also excite them to go on a hike. Give them their own set of backpacks, boots, water bottles, hats, goggles, binoculars, etc., and watch the excitement on their cute faces.

6. Dress them up in layers

Keeping in mind the temperature in the woods, dress your children up in layers. Also, remember to dress them up in bright colors so that they can be spotted from a distance.

7. Check the weather forecast

Hiking with children is fun when you are well prepared. Therefore, it is essential you have tracked the weather for the day and made preparations accordingly.

8. Include children in the planning

To have the children all charged up and excited for the hike, include them in planning the hike in whatever way possible. For instance, they can help you with packing bags or food or listing the things required for the hike.

9. Carry a convenient hiking carrier

If you are hiking with a baby or toddler, make sure you carry a comfortable and convenient baby carrier to make your hiking easier.

10. Respect their pace

You have to be extremely patient while hiking with children, as they have smaller legs and walk at a slower pace. Do not force them to hike at the pace of the adults, or they will get exhausted and all the fun will be killed.

11. Take frequent breaks

Remember to take frequent breaks during the hike. Let the children decide on when to take breaks, and allow them to have some fun while exploring nature. Your aim should be to make hiking interesting for them and not just cover the distance.

12. Plan the hike with other families

Children enjoy exploring things with their friends, and therefore, hiking with other families will not only give them company but also make the hiking experience more exciting. You will find them more energetic and more enthusiastic while hiking with other children.

13. Start with shorter hikes

While selecting hiking trails for children, pick shorter hikes and gradually progress towards longer hikes depending on your children’s potential.

14. Play games while hiking

Playing games is an interesting idea as it would ensure the hike does not get tedious or tiring. You can have them guess the names of plants or animals while hiking, or you can ask them to solve some quick riddles as you walk.

15. Click lots of pictures

Every hike is a memory, and you must capture it. You can also teach your children how to take pictures. This will be another fun learning activity for them.

16. Select a leader

Children love to lead, and therefore, you can select one leader at a time and let them take turns to lead the other children. Enjoy listening to the orders each child gives as you hike.

17. Talk to them

Always engage your children in light conversations when hiking. This will give them a chance to ask you different questions that they would usually not ask at home and make the trail feel a little shorter.

18. Motivate them

Motivate your children and celebrate each time you reach a landmark. Let them know that they are doing a good job.

19. Sing hiking songs

Create a fun playlist of the best hiking songs and teach them to your children so that you can sing along while hiking. Good music always lifts the heart and will surely put a smile on tired faces.

20. Look for family-friendly hikes

Do thorough research to pick the most suitable child-friendly hikes. Depending upon the length and difficulty levels, you can make your pick to make sure your children thoroughly enjoy it.

21. Choose hikes with different terrains

Hiking is more fun when the trail has different features to offer. Trails that offer logs, rocks, bridges, and many more terrains for children to climb and enjoy will add more fun to the outdoor adventure.

23. Educate them

Children are inquisitive, and while hiking, you can introduce them to plants and animals they see on the way. This is an excellent opportunity for them to learn about flora and fauna and connect with nature.

24. Repeat the hikes your children love

There is no denying that trying a new hike every time is good fun. However, repeating the old favorite sets the mood. If there is a hike that your children love, do not hesitate to repeat it.

25. Be a child

Make sure you bring out the child in you when hiking with your children. This will make the hike more fun and memorable and allow your hiking partners and children to enjoy your company.

26. Don’t be adamant about finishing it

Sometimes, you could end up misjudging the length of the hike, and children would not be in a state to complete it. Do not make an issue out of it. Instead, explain to them that it is fine if you have to cut the hike short.

27. Carry a safety whistle

Ensure you pack a safety whistle in each person’s backpack as it works as a useful hiking safety tool for children.

Hiking with kids is a fun family bonding activity. However, your and your children’s safety is the priority. You can thus make your hiking trip memorable and safe with proper preparation. We have listed a few basic tips for a good hiking trip with your children. But please remember that these are just general guidelines. Since you know the hiking spot better, we suggest you think of all the possible challenges you might face there and plan the trip accordingly. Also, keep our child’s preferences in mind and consider their thoughts for a good hiking experience.

Key Pointers

  • Hiking boosts problem-solving skills and confidence in kids and serves as an exercise and bonding time with their parents.
  • To make it a great experience, keep the hike realistic, start early, stay hydrated, and carry healthy food.
  • Take proper hiking gear, dress in layers, keep a check on the weather, and involve the children in planning the hike.

References:

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
1. 5 Reasons to Hike with Your Kids;National Recreation and Park Association
2. Benefits of Hiking;National Park Service – U.S. Department of the Interior
3. Health benefits of hiking: Raise your heart rate and your mood;Harvard Health Publishing
4. A prescription for better health: go alfresco;Harvard Health Publishing
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Dr. Dur Afshar Agha

(MS)
Dr. Dur Afshar Agha is a consultant pediatrician with decades of experience in various medical facilities both in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. She has headed the Department of Preventive Pediatrics at the prestigious, Children’s Hospital and Institute of Child Health in Pakistan and is a life member of the Pakistan Paediatric Association. She has also completed her Post Graduate Program... more

Manjari Srivastava

Manjari Srivastava is a graduate of psychology. She also holds certificates in Basics In Clinical Psychology and Identifying Early Signs Of Psychosis In Adolescents And Young Adults.  Previously, she volunteered with an NGO specializing in positive psychology, where she took up individual counseling sessions for students. She also taught English to underprivileged children and helped them with their studies. At MomJunction,... more

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