Taking your kids on a hiking trip is a great way to get them connected to nature and teach them how to enjoy the great outdoors, but it can be a problem for the parent who needs to organize it all. If your kids start loving and appreciating the wilderness from a young age, you know you’re doing the right thing for a healthier future for the planet.
If it seems too complicated to make a plan for a family weekend trip, just follow these simple tips that will help you get it all together.
Choose an easy hike
If you’re taking your kids for a wilderness adventure, you need to keep in mind their physical abilities and strength. For the first few times, choose short and easy hikes that feature something interesting, like a waterfall, a lake or a weird rock formation. It will keep your kids interested and motivated while you’re walking towards the planned destination. If the kids find it more amusing to explore some animal footprints or to climb a tree, then let them do it.
Let your kids play as much as they need
Nature is full of hidden surprises for kids, as it isl for grown-ups, too. Whatever hike you choose, you’ll run into things that your kids would like to investigate. Make sure they have plenty of time to do it and let them develop their first wilderness skills. They will be grateful when they grow up.
Prepare for anything
No matter if you hike with kids or not, be ready to deal with an emergency situation if it occurs. That doesn’t mean you need to be geared up for survival challenge but that you have a kit with first-aid items in it. With kids around, apart from all the usual things that a first-aid kit has, you could add wet wipes or tissues, lip balm, binoculars, magnifying glass, and perhaps even a whistle for each kid. Make sure they understand how and when to use it.
Layers, layers, layers!
Bring extra clothes and shoes for each kid. There is every likelihood that they’ll end up muddy and wet, so you’ll need to have clean and dry clothes for them. If it’s chilly, don’t forget about the hats and the gloves. Kids like to run around while in the wilderness, so instead of forbidding them to play, just bring a few more layers of clothing to change them when they’re sweaty. Another thing, leave one pair of clothes in the car for when you finish the hike
Plan frequent snack stops
Who doesn’t like a tasty energy snack on a trail? And talking about kids, it’s even more important, especially if they are really active. If you don’t satisfy all their needs, they can become cranky and then you’ll have a problem. Keep their energy high and set goals for them. For example, tell them that when you reach the rock that’s in front, you’ll have a delicious snack. They will see it as a game and keep moving forward. Make these breaks as often as possible.
Leave no trace
If you don’t teach kids to pick up all the garbage after the snack while they’re still little, you’ll create future irresponsible adults that don’t care about nature. That’s why you need to develop their ecological consciousness from an early age. Give each kid a ziplock plastic bag and tell them to collect all the leftovers of their snack. Or if you by any chance see a plastic bottle that someone else left behind, teach your kids to pick it up and tell them that leaving litter behind is a bad example.
In the end, what matters is that you all have fun and enjoy sharing amazing outdoor moments together. Good luck!
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