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Tips for Hiking with Kids

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Hiking allows kids to be in nature and to see things in a different light. It is a fun way to be active and appreciate the outdoors. We try to incorporate hiking in to every vacation. Hiking is a fun way explore for the entire family.

Here are my tips for hiking with kids:

Forget the way you used to hike before children

You might not reach the end of the trail. You might have to turn around after thirty minutes. Show patience and encourage your children and come to the realization that it is about the journey and not the distance. Your kids will improve with time and you will go further as long as you are having fun.

Start with short hikes

Kids want to reach the top or make it to the end, but if you are dragging them to complete it you are going to have a tough time ever getting them to hike again.

Choose a hike where there is an end goal

It could be a waterfall or the top of a peak. Kids will want to finish the trail if there is something amazing to see at the end.

Use a smart phone application to find hikes when traveling

AllTrails will use your current location to list nearby hikes. You can sort by length and difficulty. Also, ask the concierge at your hotel for suggestions.

Let the kids set the pace

Give them breaks when they need it, and let them stop to look at the bug on the rock.

Make the hike a game

Ask kids if they can find things on the trail. Who can find something squishy, something bumpy?  Play the ABC game and search out things on the trail by the alphabet.  Make it fun and your kids will keep their mind off all the exercise they are getting.

Hike with friends if possible

It is amazing how whining is reduced when kids are with their friends.

Pack snacks!

Isn’t this the solution to happiness in every situation? I like to bring a little treat that they can have when we stop. My dad used to say there was a candy bar on top of every mountain and amazingly there was! I always made it to the top and never picked up on his tricks.

Bring plenty of water and let the kids carry their own

My kids each have a small waist pack that holds a water bottle. Camelbak also makes a hydration backpack for kids that can do longer hikes.

Lastly, don’t forget a small first aid kit

You never know when you will need it, and you will be so glad you have it.

You are your children’s guide to appreciating nature and discovering new things when you travel. Be prepared, have an open mind, and you will create great memories on your hikes together.

More Inspiration: Take a hike! Discover more about national and state parks.

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Tricia lives in Phoenix with her husband, 14 year-old daughter and 12 year-old son. She is a special education teacher for elementary students. Her family’s favorite memories…

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