DO: Take a Hike!

I always ask myself what are we (my family) going to DO this summer?  This summer our DO is hiking. This idea may be intimidating for those who have not yet taken young children hiking.  Don't let this idea scare you. As a mom who has done this before, and as a librarian who has done all the research, I am going to list my tried-and-true tips for having a successful hiking trip with children. 

  1. Weather matters! Bad weather equals bad hiking experiences.  Every family’s ideal temperature will be different depending on where they are going and how they prefer to dress. When planning your trip around the weather remember... 
  2. Short trips are best for beginners. When introducing children to hiking sometimes it is best to start with a local trail or a neighborhood walk. Find a location that is quick to get to and short to complete for immediate success. Searching for kid-friendly trails on  East Bay Parks is a great place to start.  When you arrive remember, that although adults can appreciate the quiet scenery quiet of a nice hike, children get bored quickly. So... 
  3. Make it interactive.   Give them something fun to do while they are on the hike. I have discovered scavenger hunts to be successful.  The Teachers Pay Teachers website has free printable downloads for scavenger hunts that will keep children entertained. While you are preparing your activities don’t forget to... 
  4. Bring plenty of snacks and water. You can prevent irritable kids by keeping them fed and hydrated.  Another way to avoid irritable kids is to... 
  5. Dress for success! This means wearing proper shoes, applying generous layers of sunscreen, and, if needed bug repellant. My kids wear clothes with sun-protectant fabric to prevent burns and hide our skin from bugs because they hate the feeling of sunscreen. I am not saying sun protectant fabric is required, but remember when you get dressed to prepare for sun exposure and bugs. Because nothing ruins a fun hike quicker than sunburn or itchy skin other than... 
  6. Allergies! I always make sure my children take their allergy medication the night before so we can enjoy nature without sneezing and having watery eyes. We also use our COVID face covers to limit pollen exposure. Prepare for your kid's allergies and be sure to include their allergy medication in the travel first aid kit. Yes, you are packing a first aid kit.  Now that you are prepared you can... 
  7. Take time to smell the ragweed.  Adults often want to finish the hike as an accomplishment. Children are not interested in finishing the hikes but want to explore the world around them. So slow down, let them finish that scavenger hunt, and collect the items on the list.  But while collecting these items remember... 
  8. Take pictures, leave only footprints. To preserve the beauty of our parks and trails encourage your children to look, but do not touch. Leave rocks, plants, and other natural objects or historic features as you find them so they can be enjoyed by everyone. When we say leave only footprints that also means... 
  9. Preparing for bathroom breaks.  Make sure you know where the bathrooms are before arriving. Most park authorities that manage your chosen trail will have them clearly marked for you. That’s it. You have everything you need to be fully prepared for a hike with children. Once you have successfully completed your first hike... 
  10. Plan to do it again soon.  
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