The pandemic has presented many challenges for families. The least of which:How to keep them engaged while schools across the country were shut down. Thankfully, Life is starting to come back a bit to what it was before CoVid. For me, that means hikes with the family. I could not be happier! Does your family feel the same? Outforia reached out with tips to make for a happy family outing for all.
How to Make Hiking More Interesting or Kids
Hiking with your kids is a superb way to introduce your children to the great outdoors. But despite the adventures that await in the mountains, some kids find it difficult to get motivated on hikes.
To complicate matters further, taking unmotivated kids on a hiking trip can quickly turn your day of exploration and PLAY into one of frustration for everyone involved.
The good news is that doesn’t have to be this way. You can take your children on a hike and enjoy yourself at the same time.
To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of 5 ways to make hiking more interesting for kids. That way your next trekking trip is as fun and memorable as possible.
1. Turn Your Hike Into A Scavenger Hunt
For some kids, the thought of walking miles on end in the woods isn’t particularly exciting But, turn that hike into an adventurous scavenger hunt and you’ll be surprised at how excited your children will get for your next outing.
If you have older kids, you could challenge them a bit by creating a list of animals and plant species that they’ll need to identify. For younger hikers, you can keep things a bit simpler and stick to broad categories like “birds” or “rocks.”
2. Try Geocaching
Geocaching is a popular navigation game that’s essentially like a real-world treasure hunt. That makes it the perfect game to PLAY on a hike with kids who are keen to improve their navigation skills.
There are millions of geocaches—small containers with toys and other collectibles—hidden in natural places around the world. Each geocache has a set of coordinates that are uploaded to a geocaching app so hikers can try to find them in the mountains.
To PLAY, your kids will need either a smartphone with the geocaching app or a handheld hiking GPS. Before your hike, your children can look online to see what geocaches might be near your trekking area.
Then, during your travels, your kids can hone their navigation skills and try to track down a nearby cache. Once they find the cache, they can take a look inside, sign the cache’s logbook, and then hide the cache so others can find it after them. It’s as simple as that!
3. Have A Leader Of The Day
Kids can be industrious little helpers but not all kids like to take initiative. This can manifest itself as a lack of motivation, which can be a bummer on the trail. So, to help motivate your kids consider nominating one as a “leader of the day” for your next hike.
Depending on the age and abilities, the leader for each hike can be tasked with things like researching your trip, organizing your equipment list and keeping track of snack breaks on the trail.
Even this relatively small amount of responsibility can help a child stay active and engaged in the day’s events. Plus, being a leader of the day can give your kids a sense of accomplishment and can get them excited about your next hiking adventure.
4. Bring A Friend
Let’s face it: We all like hanging out with our friends. If you’ve noticed that your child doesn’t seem to be having a lot of fun on your hikes, you might just need to invite one of the friends along for the trip.
So, consider asking your child if there’s anyone that they’d like to bring with them on your next hike. The next thing you know, your kids will be so wrapped up in their adventurous PLAYdate that they won’t continuously ask you when it’s time to go home.
5. Plan A Post-Hike Reward
Last, but not least, don’t forget to plan a post-hike reward to help your children stay focused on the path ahead. Common post-hike rewards include things like ice cream or frozen yogurt, but these rewards don’t have to involve sweets.
Other potential rewards include a post-hike swim at a local lake or even the chance to plan your next trip. Even small rewards can be highly motivating on the trail, which means they can minimize frustration and maximize fun in the forest.
Whether you’re planning an overnight backpacking trip in the mountains or a short day hike in your local park, hiking with your kids can be an incredibly rewarding experience. The key is to come prepared with the right activities so your kids can stay happy and engaged throughout your hike.
About the Author: Jennifer Schultz
Jennifer Schultz is a Professional Outdoor Guide and a Contributor at Outforia. She is a Certified Mountain Leader and holds a degree in Outdoor Education & Adventure Tourism. She spends her spare time kayaking, bouldering, and practicing competition archery.