Help your kids develop a love for the outdoors and hiking and make it fun with these tips for hiking with kids. I have also included lots of activities to make hiking fun for kids.
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 a 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.
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 healthy 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!
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” (“I Spy”) 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 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 (especially spiders) which the kids just love! A great way to make learning fun is making this fun by playing games like 20 questions (we 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.