Not only does being outside improve the physical and mental health of you and your kids, but it’s the perfect way to make a connection with your family and nature. Sharing these experiences with your kids can create some of the best memories, all while reducing the stress and anxiety of everyday life.
I know it can seem like a tall task to pack up the kids and the supplies and find the perfect hiking trail, but with these quick tips, you’ll soon be on your way to nature’s doorstep.
Tips for Hiking with Kids
Making sure everyone is prepared with the proper attire is KEY. Hiking shoes or boots will ensure everyone is safe on the trail and prevent (hopefully) any meltdowns because someone has a blister or sore feet. Have the kids pack a small backpack with a rain jacket, snacks, and a water bottle. My kids also like to pack a small stuffed animal to share their adventure with!
In order to prevent Mom from carrying the bags and kids at the end of the hike, it is best to start with small distances. I recommend starting with 1/2 mile hikes and working your way up as everyone gains confidence and endurance. One of our favorite spots to hike outside of Denver is the “Lair O the Bear” trailhead. It provides a lot of great options for distances and is a beautiful spot. The more you hike (and older your kids get), the longer your hikes will get, but starting small can lead to everyone having more fun and wanting to go more often.
Choose a Fun Destination
Everyone likes to be rewarded for their efforts, and hiking is no different. If kids know there is something fun to do along the path or waiting for them at the end of the hike, it is easier to get them interested. We like to find hiking trails with lakes and rivers close because our kids love to throw rocks in the water and connect with nature that way.
Come up with a bucket list and set goals on getting outside and on the trail so everyone is involved in the decision. I recommend checking out Generation Wild’s list of 100 Things to Do Before You’re 12 to start!
Hiking can be one of the best activities to boost your mood and stretch your child’s imagination. By being prepared for the adventure, choosing the right distance, and finding a location where everyone can have fun and be involved, you will soon be partaking in your family’s new favorite hobby. Whether you head for the mountains or start with a stroll around the neighborhood, you will be getting stronger and healthier, all while creating memories and fun for everyone.