TIPS FOR HIKING WITH KIDS
At RV Adventure-USA, we know a thing or two about hiking with kids! You’re in the middle of your RV adventure, out in nature and decide you want to take a hike with the kids. What do you take? You don’t want to take too much and be lugging around a big heavy backpack. You don’t want to take too little and need something. Hiking with kids can be an amazing experience not just for them but for you too! Spending time together on a hike can bring your family closer together and give you life-long memories you can talk about for years to come.
Here are some helpful hints from the experts at RV Adventure-USA to help you prepare for an amazing hike with your kids.
- Keep it easy with the lots to see
- Be flexible – know how far your kids will be able to hike, don’t plan something longer
- Prepare for anything – Band-Aids, kisses for boo-boos
- Dress in layers – prepare for cold and hot weather changes during your hike
- Bring plenty of snacks
Remember that flexibility is your number one goal so everyone is happy. If this is your first hike and you want everyone to do it again, you need to make sure they are having fun. You may need to change your plans if things aren’t working out so “flexible” will be your favorite word. Try rotating which child is in charge of leading the hike.
Bring Water and Plenty of Snacks
Stopping to drink frequently is very important on any length of hike. Kids may not realize how thirsty they are because they are so focused on the new environment around them. To keep good spirits, have plenty of water and snacks packed with protein. If the kids are old enough, give them a backpack with water and snacks in it so they feel they have an important role in the hike too.
Let The Kids Take Control
Allowing kids to set the pace and make some decisions along the way will help them relax and really enjoy this new adventure. The hike isn’t about getting from Point A to Point B. It’s more about exploring the trail and what you can find on it. Find a couple of trails you think are a good fit with interesting sites such as waterfalls, views, streams or even a lake. Let the kids decide which one they’d like to do. Another great idea is to let them choose what to do for lunch – stop at a restaurant before or after the hike, or perhaps pack a lunch from the RV or order a to go lunch and the kids can choose where on the hike to stop and eat. Children naturally want to explore new surroundings. If you are at a National Park, take the Junior Ranger booklet and complete some of the tasks. Have the kids look for wildlife – birds, squirrels, rabbits, etc. and see who can see the most or name the most (depending on your kids ages). Let them design toys from nature using sticks, rocks, leaves and anything else they can find. Bring a garbage bag and make a game of picking up trash left behind by others to keep the trail looking nice for others.
Just remember, leave no trace! Whatever you take with you on the hike, comes back with you after the hike unless there are trash receptacles available for you to use. If during one your breaks, the kids decide to “dig for gold”, be sure to fill in the hole before continuing on.
Dress In Layers
Its always wise to be aware of your child’s body temperature. If you are carrying a child, keep in mind they may be cold while you are burning up. Another tip, if you have kids who like to run ahead, dress them in bright colors so they are easily visible. Also make sure they have good hiking shoes. It also is a good idea to pack an extra set of clothes in case your child gets wet. If you aren’t stressing about their clothes, they are likely to have more fun.
At RV Adventure-USA, we always put safety first. Help keep everyone safe by attaching a whistle to each child’s backpack, belt loop or other article of clothing in case they get separated from you. Maybe three quick whistles to alert you where they area. Practice before going on your hike.
Pick a Short Hike
Choosing a trail with a destination such as an overlook or waterfall allows them to investigate interesting things along the way. Make the hike interesting, a flat dirt road won’t keep your kids entertained long. Walking a narrow, winding trail is much more intriguing. Even better if there are lots of trees and boulders for them to climb on.
Teach & Play Games With Them
Inform them how long the hike will be, what kind of nature they can expect to see, teach them how to use a compass and read a map. Even pointing out plants and animals is educational and fun for them. Eye Spy and a Scavenger Hunt are also fun games to play on a hike!
Go overboard in telling your child how well they are doing on the hike, how fast they are, how they are keeping the family on the right trail. Kids (like all adults) LOVE praise so be sure to tell them they are doing an awesome job.
We hope you have enjoyed this tips from the experts at RV Adventure-USA. Happy hiking!