Take A Hike With Your Children
A nature hike is not only an experience worth remembering, but it is also extremely educational for people of all ages. While walking along nature trails, broaden your knowledge about the environment that surrounds you. Before going on your hike, consider brushing up on the plant and animal life that you will see, depending on the area you choose. Follow the clearly marked trails and make sure to pin point any poisonous plants that may be in your child's reach. Most importantly, have fun with your child while experiencing the wild outdoors. Not only will you be able to bond with one another or members of your group, but you will also get an educational exercise in the world around you.
Going on a hike isn't just fun, it's also a chance to build leadership skills in your children. If in a group, consider making one child the leader. This trail leader may be able to choose which paths to take, or create games to play while on the hike for the group. Teach your child not only about the great outdoors but also about life skills such as sharing, cooperation, and leadership. Follow these simple steps for an invigorating and safe hike with your children.
Ideas for What to Bring on your Hike:
- First Aid Kit. Bumps and bruises always happen with children. Enjoy your hike and be prepared for anything. Insect repellent, a bee sting stick, band-aids, and disinfectant cream are a must.
- Eye Protection for everyone! Even though you may be shaded by the dense forest trees, bring a pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes. Protection not only from the sun but also from dust or pollen in the air can be prevented. Also, bring hats for you and your children. These will help to keep your head cool and the hike fun!
- Bring sunscreen on your nature hike. When it's hazy outside the worst burns can occur. Protect your skin with a sunscreen of SPF of 15 or higher. Shield your child's skin from the harmful rays and not only will you savor their youth for years to come, but you will also enjoy your hike that much more.
- Make sure to bring foods loaded with nutrients and low in fats. This will help to reduce risks of cramping or dehydration.
- Rain or Shine? Have you checked the weather forecast to see what it will be like on your hike? As you know, the weather is one thing you cannot control. When you are in the depths of the forest or miles into your trail --the last thing you want is foul weather. Be prepared and check the weather as well as bring extra clothes just in case.
- Flashlights. The optimal time for you to hike, especially with children, is during the day. If it happens to get dark on your walk back, make sure that you have flashlights for everyone in your group.
Safety Tips for a Memorable Hiking Experience:
- Where are you? Even though it might be fun to go off the path, make sure your children know that it's important to stay within adult supervision. Teach your children that it is better to look at new things with their eyes, not their hands. Foreign plants, trees, and animals may be beautiful to look at, but deadly to touch. Also, stress the importance of trail markers. Children will like to find and follow the brightly colored markings found on the trees within the area.
- Take a break! Hiking is exciting -- but don't get worn out. Children tend to get colder quicker than adults do, therefore make sure that they are dressed in layers and bring plenty of fluids and light snacks for a quick "pick-me-up."
- Listening skills. Make sure you keep your child's attention at all times and do not lose sight of them. Their skills will be tested while on your hike. Teach your children to stay where they are if they do get lost. Equip your children with whistles in case they stray from the group. Or, bring along "walkie-talkies" for your adventure hike.
- Most importantly, have fun on your hiking excursion! Hiking is an event that everyone can enjoy -- and is educational! Let your imaginations run wild while experiencing the wild outdoors. Enjoy telling family stories as you trek the mountainside terrain, or sing camp songs along with your journey.