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Today, we’re lucky to have our friends from Hi-Tec with us to share some great tips for hiking with kids. Since Hi-Tec is an awesome source of hiking shoes for the whole family, we’re thrilled to share their expert advice with you!
As a parent, it’s natural to put your children first. This can make it difficult to find enough spare time to participate in your favorite hobbies, as any spare time is spend with your loved ones. Fortunately, hiking is one activity that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike, with many parents opting to take their children along with them on walks, instilling a love for the outdoors as early as possible.
However, before you set off on a walk with your children, you should first consider the fact that they might not be as entertained as you are by the scenery alone. So, how can you keep them happy and entertained during the hike? Here are 5 tips for happy hiking with your kids.
1. Child-friendly routes
It goes without saying that any route should be planned before you set off on your hike and it’s no different when you are taking the kids along. However, what you can do differently is take slight detours in order to include areas that may interest your children:
- Fords, river crossings and stepping stones
- Ruins that can be visited
- Rocks that can be safely climbed
- Woodland that can be explored
- Rivers, lakes or reservoirs banks
All of the above can help inject a sense of adventure into your hike and provide kids with a break from the constant waking, which may otherwise become monotonous.
2. The right equipment
If you are a keen hiker then there is a good chance that you have invested in all the right gear, from backpacks to walking socks. Yet it is unlikely that you have all of these bits of equipment for your children, which is understandable considering how quickly they can grow. (The average life-span of a child’s shoe is only 5-6 months!) In most instances, as long as you aren’t walking on especially rough terrain, sports trainers will be fine for footwear.
(Check back later this week where we feature Hi-Tec’s Big Fit shoes that grow with your child’s feet – trust me, you want to know about these shoes)
You should however look to avoid the chances of blistering with a pair of walking socks. If you cannot find a pair of specialist walking socks to fit your child, instead tell them to wear two pairs of thin socks. The extra layer helps to reduce friction and lessen the chances of discomfort. You should also provide waterproofs (rain gear) in case of rain to keep them nice and dry and ensure that you don’t have to listen to them moaning about how wet they are.
3. Fueling the fire
Walking burns a lot of calories and we all require food to keep energy levels up when walking. Whilst adults are more likely to be able to soldier on when hungry, kids can soon become irritable. Long grain cereals are a wise choice for breakfast, as they release energy slowly over the course of several hours. Suitable cereal options include:
- Wheat biscuits
- Fruit & fibre
In addition you should take along a selection of snacks that can deliver rapid energy boosts should your kids need a quick pick me up. Good options are:
- Tuna sandwiches
- Chocolate bars
The chances are that you will be carrying a little more weight than normal in your rucksack, on account of the kids. It is therefore a good idea to only pack snacks that are lightweight to reduce the amount of effort required to carry your rucksack.
4. Nature calls
Walking in the countryside poses a great opportunity for your kids to learn about nature and you should do your best to point out any wildlife or fauna that they may be interested in. Depending on their age, you could even print off some sheets containing images of birds, animals and plants that you are likely to encounter, complete with names. Then, as you make your way around the route, they can keep an eye out for them and tick them off as they go along.
Our final tip is to get your children involved in navigating the route, which will give them a sense of purpose, whilst teaching them basic, yet useful survival skills. So, hand over the compass and map, point out any landmarks that they should look out for and let them get on with it. Whilst you should of course keep an eye on what they are doing, offering guidance on how to read the map when required, try your best to not get too involved.
Written by Mike Smith of Hi-Tec UK