So You've Got Kids Now
And the days of aggressive hikes are temporarily on hiatus, but the delight of seeing your little ones fall in love with the outdoors is almost enough to make that okay. For now. But to make sure it's love and not hate, a few good hiking activities can go a long way. These tips below can keep their imaginations going and their little legs hiking all the way to the top.
1. 20 Questions, “Nature Style”
Find out a little more about your child’s thought process, ambitions, and creativity by asking the kid 20 questions (or 200, who cares, really? The more questions, the better) inspired by the trail you're on.
Where do you think this trails ends? If you could turn into an animal and live in these trails, what would you be? If you could be a tree here, which one would you be, and why? How many people do you think have hiked on this trail? How old do you think this trail is?
The possibilities for questions are limited only by your own imagination. If you’re running dry with questions, let your little one turn the game around and ask you the questions; trust us, they won’t run out of them.
2. “Wild Animals”
Collect rocks, sticks, leaves, pinecones, and whatever else you can find on the trails to create 'animals' with. During a hiking break, such as lunch, challenge your child to see many different animals they can make out of their trail collection; for example, they could create a ‘butterfly’ by putting large leaves (the wings) on either side of a small stick (the body).
Or better yet, have them create their own animals or monsters and explain it to you. This may end up being your most entertaining lunch hour yet!
3. Rainbow Hunt
Find something on the hike for each color of the rainbow; for example: a red berry, a yellow flower, an orange leaf, a green pine needle, a blue bird feather, and a purple-tinted rock. There are plenty of variations to add to this game, such as finding as many of any color you can, and seeing what the ‘most popular’ color of the rainbow is in the woods that day.
4. The Alphabet Game
Find something on the hike that begins with each letter of the alphabet. It’s the same concept as the rainbow game, but with 26 letters, it ought to keep them busy a bit longer. A fun variation of this game is to find these letters in nature, such as two branches crossing to make an ‘X’, or a knot on a tree for an ‘O’.
5. Name the _____ Game
Ask your child to come up with names for the trails you take. Or, you can ask them to come up with creative nomenclature for the surrounding mountains, forest, rivers, and meadows.
Kids love naming things, and if you ask them how they came up with the names, you just may learn a thing or two new about how your child’s mind works. Just because they may go about naming things differently than we do (or than we’ve been taught to), doesn’t mean it isn’t perfectly logical to them.
Hiking with your children is not only a fun family activity that can be adapted to various skill levels, it is a great way to bond with your child, learn more about them, and create active family memories. Good luck and have fun!
Adapted from Audra Rundle