How to Create Great Day Hikes With Your Kids


Time together as a family while breathing fresh air and exercising your mind, body and spirit -- all of it can be achieved with a family day hike.  It is a fantastic way to experience nature, connect as a group and, with a wee bit of planning, it can turn into a favorite way to get off the couch!

Keep reading to see how taking a simple day hike can benefit your family in so many ways and don't miss these secret tips to make it go very smoothly to create a great memory for your family as well.






The Many Benefits of Day Hiking For Your Family


I talked about some of the many health benefits of spending time in the great outdoors here and hiking the trails is a great way to do just that.  But, here are just a few more reasons why you should plan a day hike very, very soon:

1.  Time together allows for deeper connection. 

The conversations that can formulate while moving and experiencing the outdoors can't be beat! Everyone plays together with no electronic gadgets to distract or consume our attention.


2.  It is free - or nearly almost!  

Some nature parks do have entrance fees but there are many trails (some even very near your home, I bet) that won't take a lot of gas to get to or have any fees at all! And, with the exception of snacks you may need to pack, this is a budget friendly idea to do something fun with your family.


3.  You set a great example.

Your children see you active and curious about life outdoors and then they will perhaps emulate that in their lives as well and to that of their own families one day.  Pass that healthy lifestyle forward!


4.  Everyone's mood soars!

Exercise and fresh air is always a mood elevator and science backs that up! In addition, it is nice to get away from your cell phones, work, the house (as there is always work to be done there, right?), homework and other responsibilities.


5.  Everyone learns.

You observe nature together, you learn about your area a bit more, you discover new characteristics about each other, and you may learn to work a compass, read a map, or practice your photography.

Day hikes as a family are a fantastic way to experience nature, connect as a group and become a favorite way to get off the couch! Tap here for all the secrets to make it hassle-free, loads of fun, and even a packing list to ensure you will have the right items are your fingertips for a great and memorable day outdoors as a family.




9 Best Secrets For Hiking With Children


I have wonderful memories of day hikes with my family that we have taken over the years both near our home as well as on many vacations. I bet you can create great memories, too, if you follow these easy tips for a fun and hassle-free day on the trails with your family:


1. Hit the trails early.

If you have younger children in your group, they usually wake up early so take advantage of that and hit the trail and beat the crowds. You’ll enjoy cooler weather and better odds of spotting wildlife, too.

Don't miss this:  Here are lots of ideas for morning routines to make the day start on the right foot.


2. Go easy. 

For at least the first few times, select a hike that isn’t too long or too strenuous. Keep it a positive experience, not a marathon that they will never want to repeat.

Don't miss this:  Ticks are a reality any time you and your family are outdoors. Here are great tips on how to prevent ticks, remove them and avoid the disease they carry.



3. Be a player.

Sing songs when the trail gets a bit boring or it is taking longer than expected. Games like "I Spy" or "Who can be the Quietest?" can really distract from a less than engaging patch of trail.

Once while hiking in the Grand Tetons on this trail with our children years ago, we got delayed coming back down a mountain and there was no way back to our car without hiking through "bear country during feeding hours." (According to the signs!) Because we did not want to be on the dinner menu, we had our children clap rocks with their hands to create a beat while singing and talking loudly to keep the bears away and to distract ourselves from the stress we were feeling. And, we moved quickly . . . very, very quickly!

Day hikes as a family are a fantastic way to experience nature, connect as a group and become a favorite way to get off the couch! Tap here for all the secrets to make it hassle-free, loads of fun, and even a packing list to ensure you will have the right items are your fingertips for a great and memorable day outdoors as a family.



4.  Pack really useful (and fun!) things. 

Don't burden your back with a lot of weight but these items could come in very handy in your pack and they don't weigh much. I have linked to a few of my favorite inexpensive items that make the difference and find to be of great value.
Don't miss this:  Do you have these extras in your first aid kit at home and in the car?


5.  Safety first. 

Tell someone at home where you are going in case of an accident and they know where to find you. Read the trail map thoroughly before starting the hike. Speak with the rangers, too, for any tips or changes to trails not updated on the maps. Give the children each a whistle in case they get separated.

Don't miss this: Do you have your emergency information listed for a first responder to help you best?



6.  Be best dressed.

The right shoes and socks are the most important.  You may not think socks are critical, but ones that slide down or are too thin can cause blisters and absolutely ruin the day.  These socks are great for kids and hiking and I really love these socks for hiking for women, too.

Sturdy, covered shoes can prevent a turned ankle or two.  Light layers work best to peel off or add to when the weather turns.  Keep a change of clothes in the car in case a lot of muddy splashing occurs and they can ride home in clean attire.



7.  Make it a teaching moment. 

The trail is a giant classroom in nature! Take advantage as hiking along a trail is a great time to show your children how to read a map; look for trail markings, wildflowers and animal behavior; and even how to push along even when tired.



8.  Make it like you were never there.

Teach your children to take care of our great parks and trails. Show them to clean up all trash and leave the space exactly as it was found. There is a lot more information on that here.



9.  Plan the next adventure.

On the way home, ask your kids what they enjoyed and what they didn't and where they would like to go next time.  Perhaps even let them plan the next day hike or two.  If you are lucky, you may even get to plan one here or here.

Once home,  let the kids start a collage at home with feathers or pressed flowers they collected on the trip, photos, trail maps, etc. that you can add to for further family adventures outdoors!


So, tell me, how do you like to spend time outdoors with your family or solo? Any tips on how to make it a great success?  Please add in the comments so that all the readers can learn!



For Even More On The Topic . . .


  • Hitting the trails on vacation is an excellent idea and one my family has enjoyed! Here is how to make those travel dreams happen for you with a step-by-step plan - even on a strict budget.


Featured on Jill Conyers blog hop.
This post appeared previously on THM but has been updated.

22 comments:

  1. I wish there were more places around me to go hiking. These views look beautiful.

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  2. Hi Dannii - Maybe this link can help hook you up to something in your area: http://www.mapmyhike.com/routes/ Good luck hitting a trail soon!

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  3. Well, we love hiking in our family, but with a 4 and 2 year old it gets a bit tricky. Like you said, having plenty of baby wipes on hand and healthy snacks is key. And water!! The 4 year old gets to walk a bit, but little Esther still gets carried in a backpack. We also like to bring our 2 dachshunds. So we keep our hikes to under an hour which is still fun. We'd love to take a trip to the Adironacks in the near future when the girls can handle it a bit more =) The key is just getting them outside and enjoying the outdoors while we still can!!

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    1. Sounds wonderful introducing your little ones to the wonders of nature! And bringing your dogs adds to the fun! All great, Laura.

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  4. A beautiful message, Lori. Spending time out doors and with family is so important! I'm so glad I have many memorable hikes with my parents from when I was younger!

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    1. How sweet, Ceara! I hope my girls feel the same when they are older and reflect on the great family times we had "on the trails!." I know I did and will continue to do so!

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  5. What lovely trails and pictures! If I had kids I know they would enjoy this!

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  6. So great! I love hiking with my kiddos! One of the parks systems near us has a "fall hiking spree" every year, and we've been doing that with the kids since they were tiny and had to write in those baby backpacks! Just love it! Seriously great family time, exercising together ... and you can't beat the price! :D ~Shelley

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    1. Oh, so right, Shelley! Can't beat the price! So amazing to have so much fun and so much inspiring beauty all free! Sounds like a great opportunity near you and so glad you take advantage of it! We, too, used those baby packs on hikes many years ago!

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  7. We used to hike in the UK when I was a child all the time and those times are some of my fondest memories. I can't imagine having to hit rocks together to stave off the bears, though! Scary!!
    Great tips, once again. Hiking is one of the best family activities, in my opinion!

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    1. Lovely, Helen, to be able to reflect back on such memories. And, the UK, is such a beautiful, beautiful part of the world! Lucky you! And, the bear story? Oh, yes, I was never so glad to get back to our car! It was mighty stressful, but that trail is amazing if you ever get to Wyoming. (Just not near feeding time please!)

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  8. Hiking is a great exercise to do with your kids. My kids love getting into nature and getting outside!

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    1. I completely agree! Some great memories I have had with my children in some spectacular settings!

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  9. I like this idea... I have tired to get Valentina on board with this as I know the benefits of walking. This might be a good idea as she couldn't just turn around and go home... I agree it would be a good time to talk and spend quiet time together... Planning is a necessity.. snacks and water are very important xox

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    1. Yes, Launna, do get out on a trail with your daughter and just make it a light, easy-going time so that she will want to go next time. Build from there! A little planning will make it go smoother, though. All your walking should have you in prime shape!!

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  10. I never went on hikes with my kids that I recall, bike riding sometimes. Thanks for bringing your post to Blogger's Pit Stop,
    Janice, Pit Stop Crew
    Janice

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    1. Bike rides are a great way to spend time with the family, too! Love that!

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  11. I can't wait for the weather to get warmer out here so we can start going on hikes again!

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    1. So many benefits and that fresh spring air can't be beat. Enjoy your time with your family, Annmarie!

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  12. My parents recently moved to a house by a really nice trail, so every time I visit, we go on little family hikes. It's really nice!

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    1. Sounds ideal, Nicole! So good for you all to do that together! Love that!

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  13. Spending time with our kids will bring a good healthy mind and create good memories for us. As, we are completely busy in our professional life that, we don't have enough time for our family and kids. So, we should go for hiking once in a month with our family to spend quality time and create memories. In this way, we are able to maintain a healthy mind and sweet bonding with our kids.

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