As always, one of my New Year’s resolutions was to increase the amount of exercise I’m getting. All was going well until my husband started traveling more for work. I obviously can’t take an exercise class at 6:00 am when he’s gone and try as I might I haven’t managed to make going to the gym at other times of day work. Same thing with videos, webcasts, apps, printouts, whatever, I don’t stick with them once the novelty wears off. So after six months, I’ve decided the kids need to help me out. (Work with me on this).
First problem-buy in.
Calling it exercise isn’t going to get the kids interested in doing pretty much anything. So I bought three books on hiking locally:
Second problem-finding time (and continuing that whole buy in thing). Hiking with children can be time consuming. Depending on their mood, they will either race ahead of me or need to be coaxed every…single….step (more on that later). We sat down with the calendar and they picked a day to try. They have 11 weeks of summer vacation, so my goal is one hike a weekend. So far we’ve managed three so fingers crossed!
Tips for Hiking with Children
- Plan shorter trips.
- Assume you won’t make it to the end.
- Remember that most hikes are out and back. If you’re pushing to reach the end, the hike back is going to be really, really painful.
- Pack lots (and lots) of snacks.
- Don’t forget to bring water.
A good rule of thumb is that a child can hike about 1/2 of a mile to a mile per year of age. You know your child, you’re the best judge (of course we’re going to try 8 miles next weekend which may be interesting).
The other thing I looked at before we went hiking was if there were any geocaches or letterboxes along the trail. Hidden objects make everything more entertaining. We’ve also enjoyed scavenger hunts like this one from Makes and Takes or this one from How to Nest for Less.
Getting away and spending time in nature is a wonderful activity for the entire family and it doesn’t take much to get children excited about finding geocaches, waterfalls, footprints, listening to the quiet, and even the satisfaction of completing a hike.