Summer Hikes… with Kids

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Here’s a great post about hiking with little ones: Five Tips for Joyful Hiking with Little Kids courtesy of nature mom.

A particularly good suggestion is “forget about the destination”, though this can change with the age of the child. At age 3-4 this definitely applies, as they are distracted by every little thing they see, and it’s best to just resign yourself to the fact that as soon as they start flagging, it’s time to turn around and head back, no matter how far you’ve gotten.

When my daughter was in the 5-6 range, however, she needed a destination and purpose for every outing. She used to look at me in total bewilderment when I suggested “let’s go for a walk”. “Where to?” she’d ask. “I don’t know. Around the block?” Nope. She just couldn’t see the point of it. For kids like this having a picnic lunch is a brilliant solution – the whole “walk” can hinge upon finding a good picnic site.

A simple ‘treasure hunt’ list of things to look for can also provide needed momentum for nature walks.

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Now, however, at age 7, she has suddenly fallen in love with the concept of “exploring”, and “let’s go for an explore” is one of our favourite activities. The only thing is, for it to be properly adventurous, she has to go first, and she will not always take the easiest route. (There’s dense brush around our house and she will always choose to go right through a thorny bush rather than around it!)

Process is all-important. She almost finds greater pleasure in selecting items to go in her explorer’s bag than she does in the actual exploring! We like to take binoculars, a small bird book, magnifying glass, and notebook for sketching.

DSC08950Sometimes she just wants to go off on her own. Walkie-talkies make this great fun, as she can be a lone explorer, but still share every find… “Mommy! I found a mushroom! Over and out!”

If you are in a really wild area, and there’s even the slightest possibility that you might become separated, it’s a good idea to give everyone a whistle and have a talk about what-to-do if you get lost. Here’s an RCMP safety information program for kids aged 5 to 12 : Hug a Tree and Survive.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. rextrebat
    Jun 21, 2013 @ 14:30:06

    Great post!

    Reply

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All writings posted here are © Kim Thompson, unless otherwise indicated. For all artwork on this site, copyright is retained by the artist.