Hiking offers a great opportunity to learn, exercise and enjoy nature, but not all kids seem to like it! Easing into hiking can begin before they can even walk. The millage is not what’s important, but what happens in the hike. Take your time and enjoy your hike!
Our first rule while hiking is “if you can’t se us, we can’t see you”. Some kids will get over excited and try to explore ahead. Especially if they are too young, keeping them in sight is important. If the group is big an adult should be at the beginning of the line and another at the end. Line leaders work well sometimes too.
Stop every now and then for a break. You can even stop and enjoy a great sight, or change activities for a little while. Some trails have small streams or boulders kids can climb. Get plenty of water too! Make the hike something more than just walking! Point things out, types of trees, a weird rock formation, patterns etc.
Challenge the slow kids by setting realistic mini goals. The sense of achievement gives meaning to all the walking. Remember that the first times they will be slower and get tired faster, but stamina builds pretty fast in kids of all ages. They only need a little bit of encouragement and consistency. We are proud that our kids are able to do 3-5 mile nature walks.
If you are all into hiking we usually reserve an entire week of hiking around Austin and nearby state parks during our spring holliday adventures!