Going for a hike is a fun and healthy way to enjoy the outdoors! Of course, like any other activity, hiking involves some planning. So how do you plan the perfect hike for you and your family? We will show you how to plan accordingly here in our “how to” guide for hiking this summer!
Where should you go?
Well, it is important that you choose a location with which you have familiarized yourself with. You should make sure that you are aware of how long the hike will take, where the trail leads, and whether the hike is appropriate for the age ranges of your children. When hiking with kids, it is best that the desired trail be closer to home, as you never know when your kids will become bored, frustrated, or tired. If this is their first hike, you will want to go for a shorter and more manageable distance. Also, your hike does not necessarily need to be in the woods. For example, if you live in the city, you could take your kids to a city park, a field, or a walk downtown. A hike that involves a waterfall, stream, or pond can make for an interesting destination. If you live near the ocean, you could take your hike along the beach. Be creative with your journey!
When should you go?
Plan your hike in advance. You should figure out the best time of day and what the weather will be like for your hike. It can create quite the challenge and make for some grumpy little hikers if you get caught in the rain or have to make your way through a trail in the pitch dark. Also, when hiking with kids, it is smart to maintain a kid-friendly pace, take frequent breaks, and be willing to turn around if necessary. The hike is supposed to be fun, so it is not a race to the finish line or just a way for you to get exercise.
What should you bring?
Before you leave home, make sure that everyone is wearing proper hiking gear such as: socks, sneakers, and comfortable/weather appropriate clothing. Layers of clothing work best. You should always bring water, sunscreen, bug spray, tissues, band-aids, and snacks on any hike. Depending on where the trail leads, you could bring extra food, beverages, bathing suits, towels/blankets, extra warm clothing, binoculars, cameras/cell phones and whatever else you see fit!
How do you get your kids excited about the hike?
For starters, have your kids invite some friends, as everything is more fun with friends. You could turn your hike into a game or a scavenger hunt with prizes; kids love prizes! Also, you could ask your kids to be the navigators by having them decide which routes to take (as long as you know where you’ll end up). Lastly, point out along the way how much fun you are having and how great they are doing; positive reinforcement is always beneficial to a child’s morale.