Have you noticed? Play is disappearing at home, in school and in communities. Surveys show that 70% of moms played outside when they were kids, and only 31% of their kids play outside today. Isn’t that sad?
I make sure to send my girls outside to play every day. It’s a huge priority for me because balanced and active play lays the foundation for a skilled, healthy, resilient and successful society. I want my girls to enjoy the outdoors and harness the creativity that comes with it.
One thing we all find to be a lot of fun is hiking. There is so much play to be had out in nature, on the trails. You can make games out of the hike while instilling the wonderful habit of exercising in nature when you go hiking with kids.
We’re lucky that we can walk out of our front door and get to hiking trails. There are so many trails around the mountain that we live on. We’re so blessed.
No matter where you live, you can find trails and paths to play on. If you haven’t tried it, go out and find somewhere you can go hiking with your kids. I bet they’ll have so much fun playing in nature!
If you’re new to hiking, you’ll want to check out this list of 10 ways to make hiking with kids safe and fun.
Wear the Right Gear
When you go hiking, you want to make sure you wear the right gear. It’s best to wear closed toe shoes if the terrain is rough – although we still wear our flips on the more basic trails. You also want to wear comfortable clothes so that you can have more fun.
Make a List of Things to Look For
Make a playful game out of your hike! Whether you’re in your local area or on a trip somewhere new, learn about the local plants and animals. Then make a list of things to look for on your hike. It makes learning while you hike so much fun for the whole family.
Bring Plenty of Water
It’s important to stay hydrated when you go hiking with kids if you want everyone to have fun. Make sure you bring enough water for everyone and take into account that you’ll need more water if it’s a hot day. We like to play on the trails in the evenings when it’s not quite so hot.
Take Your Trash with You
There’s nothing worse than going on a hike and seeing trash littered along the trail. Don’t be those people. Take your trash with you and dispose of it properly when you get home.
Stick to the Trails
I know it seems like fun to forge your own trail, but please stick to established trails. That way you don’t trample any endangered plants or wake a poisonous snake. You can have plenty of fun playing on the trails everyone uses.
Respect the Wildlife
It’s fun to see local animals and insects in the wild. However, be sure to show the wildlife respect. Don’t scare animals and don’t touch the insects. Observe them, take pictures of them, but don’t harm them. They’re part of the environment and we always respect the environment.
I always have to remind the girls to pace themselves. If they take off running, they’re tired before finishing the trail. Instead, pick a pace that the whole family can keep and you can enjoy the day of fun for longer.
Stop to Take in the Scenery
Sometimes we get too caught in the moment and we forget to take in our surroundings. I like to teach my children about the joy of taking in the scenery. We like to stop and be grateful that we live in such a beautiful place.
Take a Moment to Meditate
I like to meditate in nature when I’m alone. Somehow my kids have decided that they love to meditate in nature too! When they sense a spot that has great energy, they’ll spontaneously sit down and start meditating. It’s awesome to watch them take to such a wonderful habit at such a young age.
Bring Fun Snacks
If your kids are anything like mine, they are always hungry. Whenever we hike, I make sure we have enough snacks for the entire trip.
We’ll pack fruit, nuts or CLIF Kid Zbars. We like CLIF Kid Zbars because they’re non-GMO, made with organic ingredients and have no high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors or preservatives. They come in great, kid-friendly flavors too.
They give the girls the energy they need to play on our hike. And I love the CLIF Kid mission of helping kids to reclaim play. Play is such an integral part of the childhood experience, so I think it’s important to get kids back outside, push their boundaries and feed their adventures. If you feel the same way, you'll want to check out this short CLIF Kid video.
Hiking with kids is just one of many ways to instill a love of play in your kids. The key is getting them outside and finding out what sparks joy in them. Seeing the smiles on their faces will spark joy in your heart too.
What other tips do you have to make hiking with kids more fun?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.