10 Essentials for Hiking with Children
With the summer beginning there has been no better time to get geared up and take your kids on a hike in the great outdoors! Taking your children out for a hike can be some of the most treasured memories you have of the summer! Hiking and participating in outdoor activities are really good for children in a world where keeping active is increasingly hard. Taking your child away from the TV or screen-time for a day can be a really valuable experience! Whether you are close-by to nature trails or will be going on a road trip, these are 10 essentials that you will need to follow.
First and foremost, spending a whole day outdoors can result in burns whether it is sunny or overcast. To prevent painful sunburn on children’s sensitive skin you will need to pack the appropriate factor of sun cream. Fairer skin tones will need at least SPF 30-50 for optimum protection. You can purchase spray bottles of suncream for easy application and cooling effect. Be sure to check the label for common allergens as some sunscreen can contain colorings that can result in a reaction.
2) BUG SPRAY
There is nothing worse than a painful bug bite to ruin an outdoor adventure. Be sure to pack some strong bug spray to keep those nasty bugs away from your children. You can also pack with you an after bite treatment to treat any bites that might occur. Make sure to spray far away from the face, somewhere outdoors with plenty of ventilation.
3) FIRST AID KIT
A first aid kit is an absolute essential when taking your kids out on a hike. You never know when someone might trip and graze their knee, so be sure to pack lots of band-aids, blister band-aids, and other essential items such as a burn kit. It is unlikely that someone will get a serious injury but being prepared is essential when you are far away from the local town.
4) GAMES TO PLAY DURING THE HIKE
If you are going on a long hike then children may inevitably get bored. You can think of some fun games to do on a hike such as I-spy or even challenge your children to spot different animals. If you are going to take a rest stop, a pack of playing cards always goes down a treat!
5) WATER BOTTLE
Packing enough water is essential when going on hikes, particularly long ones. It is a good idea to have each member of your group bring their own water bottles. You can even purchase special thermal water bottles that can keep drinks cold or hot, depending on the weather. Ensuring you pack a decently sized flask will make you well prepared for the journey ahead!
6) FOOD AND SNACKS
Depending on how long you plan to hike you may have to pack a lunch or snacks for the journey. For sustained energy, it is best to have something loaded with good carbs such as a hearty sandwich or pasta salad. Good snacks for the hike include fruits such as banana and granola bars. You may want to pack a little sugary treat as a reward for when your children make it through the hike!
7) ALLOWING YOUR KIDS TO CHOOSE THE HIKING TRAIL
If your kids are not fully on board with the idea of taking a hike then the best option is to let them be a part of the decision making process. Long hikes with many hills can be difficult for those with little legs so you will want to talk them through their choices, informing them about some of the challenges involved. Some children may really want a good view, whilst others may be interested in lakes and animals. You will have a much better time on your hike if your children are excited about the prospect of adventure!
8) COMFORTABLE SHOES
Nothing is more horrible during a hike than wearing uncomfortable shoes that may rub or result in blisters. Children that are walking in uncomfortable shoes will quickly become groggy and miserable. Try to encourage your children to wear shoes that are well worn in and comfortable. In most instances, a good sturdy pair of hiking boots is the best option, particularly if they provide good ankle support. If this is a little too expensive to buy specifically then a good sturdy pair of sneakers should suffice – just make sure they are ok with their shoes getting a little dirty!
9) RAINY WEATHER GEAR
Sometimes you can’t predict the weather, particularly when hiking outdoors. It is a good idea to ensure that everyone in your group, including children, has a nice waterproof jacket to cover them up from the rain. If your children have to walk with wet clothes in the aftermath of a downpour then they will not be happy. Consider wearing waterproof boots to protect your children’s feet and socks from getting soaked through.
Finally, the joy of hiking is that you will be able to see and experience so many amazing things with your children! Many nature parks will have stunning views and wild animals that children may be seeing for the first time! Make sure you capture these memories as you may treasure them for a long time. For slightly older children you may consider equipping them with a disposable or digital camera to take their own photos with. It is really enjoyable for children to try and take photos of some of the wildlife they see on their trip! You may even be able to display all of the photos in a photo album for a memento of your adventure!
Overall, hiking with your children can be a really fun adventure, but you must be prepared for anything to happen! It is all fun and games until your child is hungry and wet with painful feet. It is easy to be prepared for a good hike with these simple tips! Have fun out there!