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Growing up in Guatemala we used to go exploring and hiking often. Known as the land of eternal spring Guatemala is filled with lush rainforests. I grew up exploring my beautiful country, hiking and climbing volcanoes with my family and friends. Hiking has always been something I enjoy and now that I am a parent I like to share that with my kids.
Tips For Hiking With Kids
Get kids involved: Give your kids choices and let them help decide where to hike, what trails to take and what snacks to pack. getting them involved will get them more excited about the hike. Be sure to only provide choices that make sense letting them choose between trails that are all easy for them and giving them healthy snack options.
Check the weather and pack accordingly: Be sure to bring the right clothes for the weather along with lots of sunblock, insect repellent and wide brimmed hats for warm weathers and warm clothes for cooler climates. Make sure that the kids are wearing the right shoes: something super comfortable and that provides good grip to prevent slipping and falling.
Be prepared: When you are hiking with kids you should be prepared for minor accidents like scrapes and scratches. I always bring along a small first aid kid that includes band aids, disinfectant, topical antibiotics and something for bug bites. I also include a bottle of Advil® 24ct to keep me going in case I get muscle pain or a headache.
Start slow: When you start hiking with you kids choose easy trails and start with short hikes. As the kids get older and get used to hiking you can slowly increase the difficulty and length of the hikes. Make sure that you are walking at a kid’s pace and taking lots of breaks for resting and snacking.
Turn it into an adventure: Make hiking exciting and treat it as an adventure. Encourage kids to discover and explore, let them climb trees, get dirty and have fun! Don’t tell them you are going hiking, instead call the outing an adventure or a trip to explore the forest, the park or in our case the swamp! lol!
Bring kid friendly snacks and drinks: Always bring along health snacks and lots of drinks to keep your kids hydrated and keep their energy up.
Use this time to bond as a family: A hiking trip away from electronics and screens gives our family the opportunity to bond. Hiking is a great time to share together as a family, spark meaningful conversations and bond with your kids. Sometimes we even include a los abuelos and make it great big family affair!
Activities To Make Hiking Fun For Kids
Hiking together as a family gives you a great opportunity to play and have fun together. I take advantage of this time away from electronics to discover and learn about nature and to have fun!
Playing traditional games: When we go hiking I like to teach my kids some of the games I used to play back in Guatemala, it’s not only a lot of fun but I also get to share great stories about the country they where born in but barely remember and about the adventures I had there as a kid. We will usually play “chiviri cuarta”, “1,2,3 cruz roja” and other games that I used to play when I was a kid, back when video games where limited to Pac-Man and Donkey Kong on Atari.
Learning and connecting with nature: Hiking trips are a great opportunity to learn about the environment and make that special connection with nature. We make it fun but playing games like “Veo, Veo” where one of us describes something we see and everyone else has to guess what it is that we are referring to. This is a great game to play while bird watching and it’s gives us the opportunity to teach the kids about the local birds and their names. We also learn about the different plants like the mangroves and various types of insects (specially spiders) which the kids just love! A great way to make learning fun is making this fun by playing games like 20 questions (we of coarse play it in Spanish and also take advantage of this to help kids earn new Spanish words).
Scavenger hunt: Challenge kids to find specific things along the trail. Depending not he kids age you can make scavenger hunts very simple or more complex. Start by asking kids to find something hard, something fuzzy, something growing, etc. then move on to more specific things like asking kids to find a banana spider, a common bird or plant.
Because I had my kids in my 30s and because I have always been an avid sports man and a runner now that I am in my 40s those old (and new) sports injuries sometimes make an unexpected and painful appearance. That is why I always bring a 24count bottle of Advil® Tablets in my backpack when we go hiking.
Advil® helps you continue doing all the things that are important to you and helps you keep going. I’m in my 40s but I have never felt better physically; I enjoy doing crossfit regularly and eat well and one of my greatest motivations for staying fit is to be able to enjoy an active lifestyle with my family. I am not one to sit still and Advil® helps me keep moving through headaches, muscle pain and those pesky sports injuries.
I use Advil® because nothing is proven faster, stronger or longer-lasting on even your tough pain.* That is why I always pick up Advil® 24ct at Walmart so that I can have it handy in my backpack when I go to hiking or when I go to the gym.
*Among OTC brands. *Use as directed.