5 Tips For a Fun Family Hike
Before we had children, my husband and I loved to go on long hikes on the weekends. What a great tool to clear your mind and get away from it all (that was before everyone had smart phones and you could actually ‘disconnect’ in the woods). We took our kids with us in front-packs when they were only a few weeks old and then moved on to kiddie backpacks. Then as they got older, we needed to get creative to get them excited about our outings.
1. Don’t Call It a Hike
We learned very quickly if we called our hike a ‘hike’, no one wanted to go with us. Try using other words like adventure, journey, or outing. They catch on pretty quickly, but then it becomes a family joke.
2. Find a Circuit Route
Our kids were pretty good about going abc kids forward, so we would try to find a route that took us in a big circle. We could hike 3 or 4 miles with very few complaints using this method. However, sometimes it’s not possible to do this since the ‘adventure’ will either be too short or too long. If we walked for 2 miles and simply turned around to go back, the kids were suddenly exhausted and couldn’t walk another step. We found that we needed to work a little harder (e.g. sneakier) and find a clever spot to loop around so it was harder to tell that we were heading back.
3. Sing, Play Games and Tell Stories
Doing something with your family is really about connecting with each other, but sometimes kids need a little help to get through the day. Little distractions along the way are great to keep everyone moving. We used to sing the kid’s favorite songs, recite parts from their favorite stories or books, or play the ABC game (name something you see in the woods for every letter of the alphabet).
4. Go Where There Is Something To See Or Do
This can vary depending on what you family gets excited about. When our children were little, we would walk to a clearing and have lunch and play Duck, Duck, Goose. Sometimes we would go to a State Park that had a playground as our surprise destination. As our children got older, we would target overlooks or observation towers with views of rivers or train tracks (sometimes getting lucky enough to see a train on the tracks). Ending the hike near a beach, river, or stream can also be a fun reward on a hot summer day.
5. A Tasty Treat To Keep You Going