Reasons for engaging in these activities ranged from health and weight maintenance to an escape from the demands of everyday life to a love of nature. Hiking and camping have also proven to be a great way for families and friends to bond, and with 64% of kids aged 6-12 years old now participating in these outdoor activities, it’s clear that they’ve become rather popular. Of course, while families with children can also enjoy a great hike, they need to make sure their kids are ready for the adventure.
If you’re thinking of taking your kids out on a hike, the first thing you need to pay attention to is whether or not they want to go. It’s important to help your kids develop a healthy understanding and appreciation for the activity. Forcing them to go when they don’t want to only builds resentment.
5 Tips for Getting the Kids to ‘Take a Hike’
1. Time it right.
While most people tend to hike during the summer months, it may be a good idea to plan your first hikes during moderate weather, preferably when it’s cooler and in transition. Fall and spring are ideal seasons for hiking. The kids will enjoy the more forgiving weather, and the whole family can enjoy the beautiful scenery, as well.
2. Dress for the occasion.
Kids must also be dressed comfortably for the hike, and although they’re sure to appreciate being given the same gear as their parents, you might have a hard time finding dedicated hiking gear for younger children.
Covering children’s skin is the best protection, and even if you can’t find hiking gear for them, it’s not the end of the world. Basic, lightweight, long-sleeved shirts — or short-sleeved shirts made of synthetic materials on warmer days — light-weight pants, and shoes that cover the toes work great, and they give you a bit of wiggle room to make the outfit more fun as well. At the end of the day, your children should be dressed in functional and fun garments that will keep them comfortable all day long.
3. Bring a friend!
It’s important for the hike to be fun for the kids, not a chore. Let them bring a friend if they wish. Having a friend their age to share in the experience will make it more enjoyable.
4. Pace yourself.
Better yet, pace yourself at the children’s pace. You don’t want to overtax their small legs and make the fun hike like boot camp. Or worse, you could get stuck carrying your little ones on the return trip. Let them set the pace.
5. Get the kids involved.
Allow the kids to help out with the planning of the trip as well, and let them carry things like snacks and water bottles (bring enough for the trip), as well as flashlights and headlamps if they want to. Help them feel as though they’re an important part of the trip, and that they’re contributing to the hike, and before you know it, they’ll be asking you when the next trip will be.
What do you think your child(ren) would enjoy most about hiking?
Contributed by BloggaMomma: BloggaMomma didn’t get into outdoor activities until she was much older – a fact that she regrets to this day. She believes that it’s important for kids to learn to love hiking and camping at an early age, as this sets them up for success later in life, and she’s dedicated herself to helping parents get those kids out of the house and up the trail! Watch out for own her blog soon!