Hiking with Kids: All You Need To Know For A Great Start
The temperature warms after months of a cold season. After staying warm inside, it’s now time to enjoy a comfortable summer breeze. And for the kids, this means outdoor activities, for the parents who are avid hikers, this means an excellent opportunity for hiking with kids.
As the question of activities comes to mind, there is one specific thing. Spending time outdoors in the summer is always a great idea. How to do it and keep the physical demand kid-friendly is just as important.
The expectations should be realistic for the appropriate age. Expecting kids to go beyond their limits and be happy all the time can sometimes be a stretch. There will be challenges along the way.
However, the long-term rewards for hard work and dedication can be a great way to build character. It also is a fun way to bond as a family. Read on for a beginner’s guide on how to start hiking with kids.
Table of Contents
Choosing the Proper Shoes
One of the most important things you can anticipate when hiking with kids is what kind of shoes your child will wear while walking. Having the right shoes can be one of the most crucial aspects of the whole trip. Obtaining the proper footwear for kids will be the difference between tripping and falling or even losing your shoes.
Therefore, consider the type of terrain you will be traversing. There is an excellent chance that their shoes are going to get dirty or even wet. It’s probably best that you don’t wear your cutest pair of kicks unless you have specifically gotten a pair of rugged hiking boots for just such an outing.
Not only should you be concerned with the terrain under your kid feet, but you should also consider that kids are kids. They will want to run and explore as much as possible while hiking the great outdoors. Having the freedom to do just that and not have to worry about the shoes on their feet can be quite relieving. The type of obstacles that the kids will be confronted with should be planned out according to their footwear just as much as the kid’s physical limitations as they go hand in hand.
Wearing Comfortable Clothing
If you’re not being stressed out about the clothes, they are wearing, your most definitely going to have a better time. Just as you would expect an adult to wear the proper clothing for such outdoor activities, you can bet this is an aspect to consider with children. Kids are going to trip and fall in the mud or dirt, or maybe feel the need to run and splash through a nearby puddle or stream.
Planning and bringing a backup pair of clothes can be very helpful when the outdoors gets too messy. From socks and undergarments to shirts, pants, and shoes, having the ability to clean up a messy situation quickly is always something to try and anticipate. Choose extra essential garments and bring them along for the trip!
Another thing to consider is protection against the elements. Even if it doesn’t seem hot or cold outside, kids are younger and more vulnerable to the environment than any adult. The dress for success should be planned according to the weather. Check this guide if you need a good winter jacket for your kiddos.
Wear enough layers to keep the kids warm if it gets chilly while giving them the option to remove layers if they get hot. The mixture can vary so plan accordingly. Protection against the sun should also be a thought on your mind: wearing the proper colors, using sunscreen, and wearing a hat can make a big difference.
Staying Hydrated and Eating Energy Foods
Another critical topic is the energy to keep moving. Kids are always on a new growth spurt and consistently running around burning calories; it’s essential to try to keep them energized. Just as you would expect an adult to consume enough calories to keep on moving.
However, kids will more than likely need more nourishment than adults. You must bring the proper nutrition for the planned activities. Keeping a good supply of liquids to keep the kids hydrated, as well as food for their bodies to burn will be the difference between calling it early or seeking that next adventure.
10 Food Ideas for Hiking with Kids
- Fresh fruit or dried fruit – a good source of raw natural sugars that are great for the body and help to keep kids going.
- Peanut butter sandwiches – a source of protein and fat that the body needs to stay fueled and ready to move.
- Cheese and crackers – providing a great taste to your pallet and a great source of energy.
- Tuna and crackers – By far, one of the most energy rewarding food you could bring along on an outdoor adventure.
- Granola – a versatile option depending on what flavors you enjoy most
- Trail mix – an excellent choice thanks to the nuts and versatile in taste too
- Beef jerky – filled with the protein your body needs
- Energy bars – right as they come packed with all the essentials in one easy snack (read the ingredients to avoid excess sugars!)
- Pretzel sticks – carbs keep the kids fueled for the road ahead
- Fruit bar – a yummy treat maintains blood sugar levels while exploring
Making It A Fun Activity
Whether it’s climbing over rocks and logs or trudging through the mud and water. Having a destination to enjoy outdoor activities can be critical. The most important thing to know is the limitations of the kids.
Chances are they don’t like to keep moving at a steady faster pace. If they see something interesting, they are going to want to go and explore. It is smart to pre-anticipate the capabilities and the age of the kids you’re hiking with.
It is also essential to keep track of time. Allowing the kids to run about endlessly can make a short 1-mile hike last all day. Sometimes short and sweet can be necessary.
For example, hiking a nice large loop can be easiest compared to backtracking on trails you have already been on. You are maybe having a nice end-destination, like a waterfall or rock formation, for the kids to explore or have a picnic at while enjoying the scenery. The most important part about the destination to remember is the journey it took to get there. Just don’t forget to take a few pictures along the way, with one of the best cameras for landscape photography.
Staying Safe When Hiking with Kids
Being under-prepared when it comes to safety can ruin an entire trip. Yes, trying to prepare for the unknown can be unnerving, as anything can happen, but this is where planning ahead is crucial for an adventure with youthful kids. Here are seven safety tips for hiking with kids.
- Bring a first aid kit – Having a few essentials in every bag should be a priority. Some bandages and antibacterial ointment will go a long way when you’re in the middle of nowhere.
- Bring more supplies than you think – As we know, water is vital, and the amount you need can vary. It’s better to have more food and water than you need than to not have enough.
- Be prepared for the weather – If you are hiking in the mountains or through the woods, it’s essential to make sure every person in the group has at least one extra layer. If rain is a possibility, then plan for it!
- Supply your kids with safety – Providing your kids with a small pack of essential safety gear, such as a cellphone, walkie-talkie or extra snacks and fluids should be a consideration.
- Stay Together – Kids like to wander and explore, so make sure they do it smartly.
- Teach your kids what to do if they get lost – Have a backup plan and make sure they know it
- Know your surroundings – Making sure you understand the hazards your kids will be confronted with is important
There are many aspects to consider before heading out on an excursion with kids. Do you have any personal tips when it comes to hiking with kids? Share them with the community and us, and keep making the outdoors fun for generations to come!