Hiking with little kids can quickly turn into a nightmare. Even with research stating the psychological and physical benefits of being outdoors, the fear of complaining kids dragging their feet is still reason enough to stay squarely in the backyard. Last month we took our kids to Round Mountain near Rocky Mountain National Park. It was fabulous. Afterwards in the car, my hunky husband turned to me and said, “That was surprisingly fun.”
Here are the tips I wish someone told me before I took my kids hiking.
- Fuel up in the morning with some healthy protein, like eggs. Try this easy recipe for A Camel’s Eye.
- Forget that it’s about logging a lot of miles. Choose a reasonable distance, and then crank it back even more. If you want your kids to enjoy this hike allow them to feel successful. You can always add more distance as they grow older.
- Forget about speed. Enjoy stopping for breaks to look at moss and interesting animal tracks.
- Make sure to pick a trail that offers great views.
- Don’t hike during nap time. Do hike in the morning or early evening when they’re eager for adventure.
- Don’t stress about special snacks. All you need is water and traditional trail mix with dried fruit and nuts.
- Bring a few of these surprising toys for your little scientists to make observations. We brought a magnifying glass, binoculars, measuring tape, level, and Big P’s favorite stuffed animal.
Want more excuses to actually use your family tent? Make sure to sign up for the 9th Annual Great American Backyard Campout. Register here.