Taking your kids hiking can be loads of fun and a great family experience. It’s a good way to have them learn about nature, wildlife and the beauty of being outdoors.
You can even make a full day of it with a picnic lunch.
Depending on the age and interest-level of your kids, there are many areas that could captivate their minds and imagination.
While adults like hiking for the fresh air, scenery, and serenity…kids may need an additional lure.
And while they’ll end up having just as much fun as you…if not more…here are some tips to help you maximize your family’s fun!
Kid’s Hiking Ideas:
Geocaching is the modern-day treasure hunt. It’s loads of fun for kids and adults, alike. Geocaching provides hours of excitement as you hike through the woods looking for the hidden canisters. Unlike a hike or a backpacking trip, there’s the thrill of pursuit as you follow your GPS and the clues given on the geocaching site. We have had so much fun with this! It’s free to register on the geocaching site, and just by entering your zip-code you can literally hundreds of locations within a short-drive away. If you don’t already have a GPS unit, check out the navigation tools page where you can pick one up for less than $100. The Garmin E-Trex is a reliable unit and used by many folks out there. Most locations have a clue and set of coordinates. Enter the coordinates into your GPS and you’re on your way! As you search through parks and country side for these cleverly hidden treasures, your kids won’t even notice the miles logged in the wilderness. Many of the locations even have little toys inside the hidden canister for which you can trade your own treasures…kids really love it! If you haven’t tried this already, check it out!…taking your kids hiking will be a fun adventure for the whole family.
Another great family fitness outing is visiting some of natures thousands of caves. Many caves have been commercialized to the point where you pay a entrance fee and are able to walk through a guided tour, which for some caves is a pleasantly cool mile plus walk. As your kids hike through stalagtites and stalagmites, they probably won’t ask if they’re “almost there yet” ;-).
- Wildlife Bingo
Some of Pennsylvania’s parks have numbered trees throughout their wooded areas. One day, I asked the Ranger what the purpose of the numbers were…it was a tree-treasure-hunt! With a tree identification pamphlet, children could examine the bark, leaves, size, and shape of the tree and check off the various numbered trees on their scorecard. What a great idea! If you’re taking your kids hiking, you could certainly adopt this idea by just having them try to collect and identify various leaves or have them do a wildlife or tree bingo card. You can use Google’s image search to make your own leaf identification page for your area. They’ll be so busy having fun tracking down nature’s hidden treasures that you probably won’t have to bribe them with anything else to keep walking!
- Badge Collection
If taking your kids hiking is something you do on a regular basis, having a way to reward their accomplishment could be a great motivator. I was in an outdoor store in Tennessee’s Great Smokey Mountains and noticed a whole rack of pins and patches for just about every imaginable trail on the eastern seaboard. It could be a great way to perk their interest and provide a fun collection of their hiking memories for years to come….and they’re small enough not to clutter up your house 😉
Going for a hike is loads of fun and taking your kids hiking can be a memorable experience for your entire family. Whether you going out for a day of geocaching or trying to reach the summit of a picturesque peak, I hope you and your family have a great time!