Kids and Hiking
Kids and Hiking Love hiking? Got kids? So how do you persuade kids to enjoy hiking and the outdoors as much as you do?
In search of secrets for turning kids into enthusiastic hikers, we asked around—colleagues, Facebook fans, Twitter followers. We picked up lots of good ideas, including this excellent insight: If you can't think like a child, don't invite one on your hike.
Some tips we heard repeatedly. Among them:
- Bring plenty of snacks.
- When starting, hike short distances and commit to traveling at a child's pace.
- Let your kids invite a friend along. (Adults become boring. Peers are cool.)
- Let kids participate in hike-planning.
- Emphasize fun: play games, look for treasure, try geocaching.
- Seriously, bring lots of snacks and stop often to let kids scarf them down.
The following is a selective collection of the top tips we heard. We invite you to join the dialogue and share your advice in the comments section at the end of this article.
How far can an average child be expected to hike? A general rule of thumb: ½ mile per year of a child's age.
Equip each child over 4 with a whistle.
- Three blows means "I'm lost."
- Rehearse with a child what to do when lost. (Stay put, blow whistle.)
- Place the whistle on a small carabiner and clip it to the back of the child's pack or a belt loop. Teach kids not to use it as a plaything.
No open-toed footwear; avoid cotton socks (they're slow to dry and are prone to causing blisters).
Equip kids with sunglasses, a sun hat and generous layer of sunscreen.
Carry ample water.
Carry a basic first-aid kit, plus extra bandages, cleansing wipes and athletic tape.