Hiking Can Be Fun With Kids!
By Donna Stark
When I was a young child we would hike in the woods around my home. I can still remember the scents and the colors of the damp, shaded forest. I remember hurdling over downed trees, jumping from rock to rock along the springs, and imagining that I was really trying to "survive." I still hike, and although the scenery has changed, it remains one of my favorite things to do. The great thing about living where I do is that my community has a ton of local and accessible hiking trails. These trails provide hours of enjoyment and physical fitness to people of all ages and abilities, and are a treat to those who love to be outdoors. They make it easy to hike, but they make it even easier to bring along your children.
Yes, Hiking Can Be Fun With Kids
Bringing children along with you on a hike can sound overwhelming if you have never done it before, but the experience can easily turn into some of your favorite memories if you plan accordingly! Here are some pointers for hiking with your little mini-me's.
- Plan ahead - Involve your children by including them in the day's decisions. Which trail to hike, what difficulty level to choose, and when to head out? You may also want to have discussions with them about safety and preparations. Teach them the importance of checking the weather, staying hydrated, applying sunscreen, and wearing appropriate clothing.
- Let them lead - Allowing your child to explore at their own pace and have fun checking out the things along the trail is a great start. Sure, at that speed you may not get the workout you are used to, but this hike may need to be more about them than you. Foster their imagination, take cues from their "play," and be open to observing things you may have forgotten about since you were their age.
- Pack some fun - Invite a few of their friends, head out with another family, create scavenger hunts, or pack some drawing pads and pencils. The hike doesn't need to be just another boring walk. Turn it into a fun adventure!
- Don't forget the snacks - Forgetting snacks and water is the most critical mistake you can make, so make sure it's on the top of your to-do list. Some great options include nuts, trail mix, granola bars, sliced fruit, and raw vegetables. You can also sweeten the pot with a bite or two of some non-melting candy like licorice. OK ... you got me. It's really the emergency bribe, but a parent's gotta do what a parent's gotta do, right?
Grab Your Gear and Go!
Hopefully, these tips will get you out on the trails with your young ones more often. Hiking is a great way to enjoy some awesome family time while also encouraging physical activity. And the best thing about it? Your children won't be on their phones because the reception is usually poor!
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Bellevue, Wash.