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Hiking with children
Hiking is one of the most popular and enjoyed outdoor activities for all ages and it is relatively inexpensive. Children love the outdoors, they love to be active and to explore, so hiking with children should be treasured and remembered. Hiking provides a great deal of quality time with your children and also a wonderful place to teach them to love, enjoy and respect nature. Proper planning will ensure a successful hike.
- Short hikes should be undertaken at first and then gradually build up their conditioning and endurance. Hikes are supposed to be fun, not forced and upsetting. Don't expect them to go as far or as fast as you can.
- Make sure they have the proper footwear. This is as important for them as it is for you. Thin liner socks and a heavier sock are also a must to avoid getting blister.
- Leave plenty of time for your hike and be prepared to stop often. Children love to touch everything they see – this is called learning.
- Plan hikes near boulder fields, waterfalls, streams and other attractions to keep them interested and to build their anticipation.
- Take time to identify things along the way and look for wildlife.
- Teach your children to explore and touch - not to destroy or collect.
- Take lots of photos for their scrapbook.
- Teach them good outdoor ethics and to respect nature and other people.
- Stay on the trail and don't allow them to take shortcuts.
- They should not yell or make loud noises nor to throw rocks or break tree branches as well as not to pick flowers or write on rocks.
- No running on the trails and respect other hikers’ space.
- No littering – remember -- pack in, pack out.
- Keep children away from steep cliffs and other drop off areas. Watch them closely when climbing on rocks and around water.
- Bring plenty of water and snacks.
- Don't forget the first aid kit for those unexpected accidents.
- Infants can be carried in a baby backpack.
- Engage your child's mind and body. Make the hike fun: sing songs; identify items; play games such as I Spy, twenty questions or cloud pictures etc.
- Be creative and use your imagination and enjoy this special time with your children.