These 7 tips will help make hiking with kids fun in the Rocky Mountains or wherever. If kids have fun on a hike they will want to do it again, and again.
I wish I could say that every time I’ve gone hiking with my kids it has been fun, but I can’t. Some times, for whatever reason, it just doesn’t work out and is not fun. However, I’ve found that there are a number of things that we can do to make it fun for our kids when we go hiking. Here are the top 7 things that we do to make hiking with kids fun.
7 Tips To Make Hiking With Kids Fun
Pick Family Friendly Trails
Know how far your family can reasonably hike before everyone begins getting grumpy and pick trails that meet those criteria.
Look for trails that pass by different features along the way where you can stop and explore, such as a creek, river, lake, or boulders.
Set Realistic Expectations
As parent, you are the ones choosing the hike and you need to set realistic expectation for yourselves. You know your own children and what they are capable of.
Don’t expect a 6 or 8 year old to hike for 4 hours if they haven’t done it before. They may make it, but they may not have fun.
If you set realistic expectations for the length of your hike and let everyone have fun along the way, then the kids will likely want to go hiking again.
Plan Plenty Of Time
Plan on spending as much time as you need on a hike with your kids as you stroll along and stop to play or look at different things. When you hike with kids you may spend three hours on a trail and not go very far. But, you will have tons of fun with your family in that time.
No Devices Or Electronics (No Distractions)
Another important part of the family hike is to make a rule that while out hiking there are no distractions such as iPods, headphones, or other electronic devices. If different people are listening to iPods then even though you are technically together you are not actually together as a family because everyone is doing their own thing.
This rule goes for parents just as much as kids. Parents, you are setting an example for the kids to follow. If you have fun and are engaged, the kids will follow your lead.
Stop And Smell The Flowers
Look at the butterflies or hummingbirds flying amongst the wildflowers.
Look closer at all the details of a flower, a bug, or a fungus. You will be amazed at all the little things you previously missed as you passed by on your way to the peak.
Enjoy sharing all aspects of the natural world with your children. Your children will sense if you truly enjoy it yourself and then they will love learning all about it from you. The more time you spend observing different facets of nature with your children, the more you will all appreciate the intricacies of the natural world.
Take Frequent Breaks
Take frequent snack and water breaks. All people expend a lot of energy on a hike and it is very important that you keep up everyone’s energy. In order to do this take breaks and give everyone a snack – a granola bar, fruit, or some little thing to keep them going.
To Make Hiking With Kids Fun – Have Fun Along The Way
Do whatever your family wants to do along the trail, but don’t feel obligated to hike as fast as you can. Some families may find it more fun to simply hike along quickly, but others may want to take their time. Do whatever suits you best.
If you want to take it easy be sure to climb rocks, walk along natural balance beams, and smell the flowers. Take a little detour to a creek to throw rocks or see what you can find in the water. Maybe you can find some beautiful flowers or neat spider webs with spiders on them ready to eat a meal.