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A Guide to Hiking With Kids

With kids spending an increasing amount of time in front of computers and televisions, it is more important that ever to get them active. A great way to get kids active is to take them hiking. Hiking is a good way to combine exercise with quality family time and also allows kids the opportunity to explore nature. With some simple planning, taking kids on a hike can be a fun adventure for the whole family.

Planning a Hike With Kids

When taking kids hiking or climbing, it is important to do some pre-planning. You may need to modify your goals a bit when going hiking with kids. Be prepared to possibly not reach the end of the trail, and adjust your hike to your child's comfort. When hiking with kids you also need to be patient. Kids can get easily distracted but hiking can present great opportunities to stop and teach kids about animals and nature. You should know the area well when planning a hike with kids. It is important to choose shorter trails that are easier for kids to navigate. You should also check the weather when planning a hike so that kids can be dressed accordingly. Children are more susceptible to cold than adults so it is important for them to be dressed properly.

Tips for a Good Hike

Especially with younger children, it can be easy to lose their attention. For this reason it is important to keep kids entertained when hiking. Teach them how to spot signs of wildlife and choose trails that will have interesting features such as water. It is important to let kids set the pace when hiking. For every step an adult takes a child has to take approximately three steps so allowing them to set the pace will ensure that they are comfortable. Allowing kids to climb and gather items such as neat rocks or pine cones will help them enjoy the hiking experience. You can even bring a camera and take pictures to document their favorite places.

To keep kids from getting bored you can also try creating a scavenger hunt so they can look for items as they hike. Geocaching is another fun activity that involves using a gps device to find caches, or items that have been placed in various locations by other geocachers. Kids often enjoy geocaching because it is sort of like a treasure hunt.

Hiking Safety

It is important to practice safety when hiking, especially with children. You should carry a first aid kid with you that contains essentials such as adhesive bandages, Tylenol, anti-bacterial wipes, calamine lotions, and other necessary items. It is also a good idea to carry an insect repellent and sunscreen to keep kids' skin safe. In addition to having a first aid kit, it is important to pack plenty of water and snacks. It is better to bring extra water than to wind up running out. Kids should be taught some basic safety rules before their first hike. They should know how important it is to stay with the group and to stay on the trail. You should also ensure that kids know what to do if they get lost such as staying put on a predesignated park bench or seating area. It is often recommended that when kids are hiking they have whistles with them so if they get lost the sound of the whistle can aid in finding them.

While a bit of advanced planning is necessary, taking kids hiking is a great way for them to learn about the outdoors. Hiking is also a great form of exercise which is important for kids of all ages. For more information on hiking with kids, visit the following webpages.

Find more about the author: Kim Hart

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