Hiking with Kids – 3 Tips to Choose a Hiking Spot
Hiking with kids can be such a fun family activity. But with so many options, where should you go hiking? We are the mamas from Puddle Parenting, and here are our suggestions for things to think about when looking for a place to go hiking with kids!
1. Somewhere small with lots of forks
Kids don’t need a big space to explore, so it's not necessary to find a place with miles upon miles of trails. It's best to assume you won’t get very far at all when hiking with kids! Many family hikes involve lots of stops to explore and investigate. In case they want to walk a long distance, you don’t want to end up far from the trailhead when they get tired and refuse to walk back. Hiking someplace small ensures you’re never very far from the exit. We also love places with lots of forks in the trail because it gives kids the chance to feel in charge by choosing the direction to go next!
2. A place with fun things to explore
No doubt kids are drawn to nature, but some features are like magnets for children! Pick a spot that you know has features that are fun to climb like big rocks, trees, or logs! As long as you feel comfortable, let them test their strength, risk assessment, balance, and see what they are capable of. You might even have fun climbing too! Another big draw for kids while hiking is anything water related. It could be a creek, river, lake, tidepool, vernal pool, or even puddles and mud after a rainstorm.
Rainy days provide so many new activities to do outdoors! Water offers so much opportunity for sensory discovery and play. We always bring extra clothes or dress our kids in quick-drying gear like swimwear just in case they want to enjoy a water feature. Even if the kids can’t access the water directly, things like bridges or boardwalks can be an exciting way to cross and observe water.
3. Somewhere convenient or familiar
Kids can be happy hiking almost everywhere, so pick the place that is convenient for you. If you’re worried your kids may get bored hiking the same place over and over, remember that kids gain a lot from repetition when they are exploring in nature. They get to see how things change with the seasons, try the same climbing challenges, and grow to love their “special spot”.
We hope you have lots of fun the next time you go hiking with kids and that this blog helped you with what to look for in a great hiking spot! You can find us on Instagram @PuddleParenting with more tips on exploring the outdoors with your kids!
Irene, Jenn and Kelly, three moms empowering you to play outside!