Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hiking with Children

Everybody wants to share their favorite activities with their kids. Children love the outdoors and they are very active. Hiking is an excellent outdoor activity for people of all ages. Spending time outdoors as a family not only pulls the family closer together, but is also a great time to teach your kids about nature, respecting the environment, and supporting an active lifestyle.

To make sure your hike is a success and fun for all involved be sure to start out with short hikes and slowly build up their conditioning and endurance. Hikes should to be fun, not forced and upsetting. Adjust your pace so the child isn't pushed too hard.

Make sure they have the proper shoes and clothing for the conditions. Leave plenty of time for your hike. Be prepared to make many stops as kids love to examine and explore everything they see. Plan hikes to a destination such as a lake, waterfall, summit, boulder field, etc. It is always better to have a destination to look forward to instead of just hiking out into the woods and turning around.

Look for wildlife, bugs, footprints, and different plants. I like to have discussions with my kids about what kind of animals we might see. We usually get into discussions about what those animals eat and where they sleep. It is a great learning experience for the children. Be sure to teach them Leave No Trace Ethics and to respect nature and other people.

Bring plenty of water and snacks and don't forget the first aid kit for those unexpected accidents.

Most importantly make the hike fun. Play games such as I Spy or have a scavenger hunt. Be creative and use your imagination and enjoy this special time with your children. They will enjoy spending time in nature with you and you make make memories they will never forget.

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