Discovering new creatures, learning about plants, and spending quality time together… it should come as no surprise that hiking with children can be an adventure for the whole family. Not only is hiking with children a lot of fun, but it can be an educational experience for everyone, young and old. However, it’s important to realize that, while it may be fun, hiking with children can be an (unnecessarily) difficult task if parents are not adequately prepared.
As with any other activity involving children, it’s important to plan ahead to ensure that while hiking with children, you and the kids have a great time. The follow list of tips from Yahoo.com should not only help you prepare for your hike, but make sure that the trip is fun for the whole family.
Top Five Tips for Hiking with Children
It is fun to get out in nature with the family. It provides some quality alone time and a good dose of important exercise. Hiking with your children is a wonderful thing. However, hiking with children can have some serious drawbacks. Below are five tips on how to have a safe and enjoyable hike with children.
Hiking with Children Tip #1 – Proper Clothing and Shoes
All members of the family should wear proper clothing and shoes on a hike. For short hikes, sneakers or cross-trainers will probably suffice. For longer hikes, however, both adults and children will benefit from properly fitting hiking boots.
When hiking with children, it is important to dress them in comfortable, non-binding or chafing clothing. Children will complain readily if their collar is too tight or their waistband rubs their belly. Long pants thick enough to deter thorns and insects are a must for hiking children.
Hiking with Children Tip #2 – Hiking Sticks for Everyone
Hiking sticks can help with balance and support on tricky hiking trails. When hiking with children, provide hiking sticks that are the right size and weight for them. Hiking sticks can either be found wooden branches that are smooth and sturdy, or manmade, purchased varieties. The hiking stick for children should be narrow enough for them to grip and not to heavy.
Hiking with Children Tip #3 – Planning the Route
If a hiking trip is too long, children are apt to complain. Be sure to plan the route before you set out. Either plan to hike in a loop that will take you back to the car or campsites, or hike half the distance out and half back. When hiking with children, it is a great idea to map out the route with them beforehand. They will enjoy following the map and knowing how far they still have to go.
Hiking with Children Tip #4 – Drinks and Snacks
Everyone needs some nourishing drinks and snacks while hiking. The most important thing to carry along when hiking with children is plenty of water. You could also bring sports drink. When hiking with children, it is also a great idea to bring fun snacks that can be carried along. GORP (good old raisins and peanuts), or trail mix is the ultimate hiking snack. Dried fruit, peanut butter crackers, and granola bars are other good choices. Hiking with children takes a lot of energy, and healthy carbohydrates give a burst when you need it.
Hiking with Children Tip #5 – First Aid
When hiking with children, be sure to pack a first aid kit. Of course, adults can also be injured, but small children are more susceptible to cuts and scrapes. A small injury may make a child feel as if they cannot go on. An adult ready with the first aid kit will keep the hiking day more pleasant for children.
Hiking with children is important for physical exercise, appreciation of nature, and family together time. If you want a safe and fun experience, there are certain things you must remember. Staying within the bounds of ability and comfort is important when hiking with children.
As you can see, hiking with children can be both fun and educational. Trails.com provides a great list of hiking trails that you can enjoy with your children in Massachusetts. If you’re looking for other great ways to enjoy the outdoors as a family, make sure you visit us at Southwick’s Zoo. There are plenty of animals and areas to explore. Deer Forest, located within the Zoo, is a great place for you and your children to venture around and feed the deer. We’d love to see you!