We can hardly think of a better way to introduce the small ones to the wonders of nature than by taking them on hikes. However, hiking with kids comes with its own challenges and requires some extra planning. Getting dizzy just thinking all the things that could possibly go wrong? We got your back. Here’s some tips for a successful hiking adventure with the whole family.
Tip No. 1: Select a Children-Friendly Route
Start small and keep it interesting. For little kids, hiking is not about reaching a summit in a PB time, but about all the things one can discover along the way. Choose a hike with interesting features that allow for small adventures, be it a lake that invites for a stone-throwing competition, a mysterious cave to be checked out or a planet-themed follow-along trail – whatever keeps the eyes, hands, minds of the small ones engaged will make the walking-part of hiking a piece of cake. With SOURCE Kids Sandals, the kiddos are ready for walking, running, climbing trees and splashing in the water… There’s no better match for tiny feet on those easy, fun hikes!
Tip No. 2: Slow Down
There’s just so much to see and investigate along the way, so be prepared for many more stops and interruptions than you would have on a hike without kids. Reaching the goal or summit is rewarding for kids and grow-ups likewise, but don’t make it your personal mission to be the first parent having dragged a five-year-old to this or that mountaintop. If you reach your goal – awesome. If not, there’s no need to hurry up – try again another day. Hikes are such a good opportunity to educate your small ones about the environment, about the beauty but also the dangers of nature, about birds, flowers, trees – you don’t want to miss that just for the sake of finishing the hike quicker.
Tip No. 3: They’re “Real” Hikers, Too
Hiking with their own little backpack, carrying snacks, a water bottle, hydration bladder and windbreaker is much more fun and gives any child a sense of importance and being the real deal. (At least initially. You might have to take over, once they start to get tired.) Kids love our SOURCE Kids Hydration Packs: fun colors, smart compartments and their own hydration bladders – all the little hiker needs to be well-equipped and stay hydrated during the hike!
Tip No. 3: Be a Cheerleader
Kids usually get cranky when they are bored or tired. For boredom-problems, we refer to Tip No, 1. For “I don’t want to walk anymore”-problems: encourage them, let them know that they are strong and can go further than they think. They will be even prouder of their accomplishments if they have managed to go all the way, without being carried by grown-ups. And remember when you were little: these little legs have to work much harder, so some cheering is very appropriate.
Tip No. 4: The Packing List Just Got Longer
First Aid-Kit, sunscreen, blister plasters, etc. are no-brainers to bring on any hike. But there are some useful items to take along when you’re out and about with the little ones: extra socks, because splashing in puddles is fun; wet wipes, the favorite allrounder to clean basically anything; camera, because you don’t want to miss those cute moments; magnifying glass, because your kid might discover his/her inner Sherlock or Enola Holmes and find some tracks to follow; and additional snacks – lots of them. Because little man/woman has to eat, especially when engaging in strenuous physical activities.
Tip No. 5: Leave No Trace
One of the most important lessons the kids can learn on a hike is to respect nature and to leave no trace. By setting an example, you teach the best. Maybe even consider making up picking small trash a game on the hike to keep the kids engaged and teach them a good habit!