Four years ago, it would be as simple as choosing a hiking location, packing our bags, and then wandering off into the wilderness. It was a weekend routine that just fell into place so easily. Fast forward time to the present day, and it definitely takes more than just that with two young kids in tow.
Exploring the outdoors shouldn’t be limited by your age. It’s a time to be in touch with mother nature, an experience to bond as a family, and a way to breathe in the fresh air and breathe out all your worries. What’s not to love?
Here are a few tips to make a family hiking adventure a FUN experience for everyone!
Pick your location and distance
- Check that the track you choose is suitable for all ages, not just for an experienced hiker.
- Check what time of the year the track is suited to. Some tracks are best to be avoided during the summer period as they have limited shaded areas, whereas others are perfectly fine.
- Check what the track entails. Some tracks have hundreds of steep steps to climb up and down, so it may not be the best choice if you’re going with kids. Others may have way too many descending and ascending slopes, or streams that need to be crossed. Best to stick to simple tracks first!
- Always check that there is an actual track too, as there are locations that require you to self-navigate.
- How long is the track in kilometres? Think of your own abilities, as well as your kids’ and ask yourself, is the track’s distance too long? If it’s your first hike with a child, start off with a super short track, and you can gauge from there whether they can do a longer hike next time.
- Double the time it would normally take you to do a hike as kids tend to need longer breaks in between, especially if you’ve got little feet wanting to walk parts of the hike instead of being in a carrier. Always overestimate the time to complete the track.
Get the kids involved
- Yes! Get them excited about hiking. This means getting them involved in the planning stages too. Show them potential hiking spots and ask them for their feedback; do you like the look of this track? Would you prefer to see waterfalls or native flowers? What snacks do you want to bring? etc.
- When you’re hiking, get them involved there too. Ask them to check where you are on the map, how far along the track you are, which turns to make to get to a lookout/attraction etc.
- Kids love to be involved. Let them be a part of the entire experience.
Look at the world through their eyes
- As adults, it’s so easy to forget how differently kids view their surroundings. Get down to their eye level and see what they see and be excited about it! Point at interesting plants and trees, look into the distance with them, look at the creepy crawly that just passed their little hiking boots, be amazed at what grabs their attention.
- Kids love excitement. Help them see what you see too. Lift them up and show them a view from above.
- Show them that they are surrounded by the beauty of nature.
If you’ve been hiking with kids before, your tips and experiences are most welcome to be shared! If you haven’t yet, it’s definitely something to add to your to do list – you won’t regret it 😊