How to Hike With Kids

Family hikingHiking with children can be challenging, but it’s well worth the effort. Hiking with your kids will teach them an appreciation for the outdoors, and it’s a great way spend time outside with the whole family. It’s important to recognize that hiking with kids requires more planning and preparation than hiking by yourself. Here are a few things to consider when learning how to hike with kids.

One of the most important things to do is find a kid-friendly trail.

The most kid-friendly trails are going to:

  • be relatively short
  • be relatively easy
  • have great views
  • have things to do

Start small

Most children aren’t going to appreciate a 15-mile loop through the prairie. It’s important to start small, especially if your kids aren’t used to hiking. Aim for easy trails that are between 1 to 1.5 miles, and work your way up to longer and more difficult trails with your children.

Choose a fun trail

You definitely want to choose a scenic trail, and one that offers plenty for kids to do, whether it’s splashing in a river, climbing on rocks, or exploring caves. This will make the hike more exciting, and teach kids how much fun nature can be.

Do your homework

Once you’ve done your research and you find a trail that looks kid-friendly, do a dry run. Hike the trail without the kids and get sense of how easy the trial is, how long it will take, and how enjoyable the trail will be.

Take your time

Keep in mind that hiking trails with kids takes much longer than hiking by yourself. Start the hike early, and be prepared to take plenty of breaks.

Prepare your children

Teach children which plants to avoid and what to do if they come across wildlife such as snakes, porcupines, etc. There’s nothing like a snake bite or poison ivy encounter to have your child swear off nature for good.

Prepare yourself

Parents should be mentally prepared for a hike with kids. Be patient and know that kids might get scared or intimidated by things in nature. Be prepared to work with them and look for opportunities to teach them.

Make it fun

Don’t just take your kids hiking. Go hiking with your kids. Let them be involved with planning. This can mean helping choose snacks, or helping pack for the hike, or letting them help look for trail markers.

Get outfitted

Make sure your kids are equipped with the right hiking gear. They will need good footwear, sun protection, insect repellent, snacks, drinks, etc. Stop by and see us for any hiking equipment you and your family may need!

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