So often, I find myself writing about how to overcome it all – how to keep moving. Why? Because I think it’s something most of us can relate to. Gone (for me) are the days when I can toss my kid and hiking go-bag into the car and go for a hike. The days when he was between 18 months and 2, and we had our act together. At least, as much as we ever have. Because those were the days that we didn’t argue over what he was willing to eat, what pants we were wearing (as if pants were an option), or leaving the house in general.
In those days, when our commitments were few, we hiked almost every day, sometimes twice a day. An HiB30 challenge? No problem. Even 30 miles in a week wasn’t out of the realm of possibility. Unlike now – when my darling slightly wild son is approaching age 4 and everything is a battle.
To add to this, our family will be growing this fall. And I am constantly looking for ways to keep my kid burning off his considerable energy, while getting outside myself and having some social time. Couple this with a recent cross-country move, and if you’re imagining a barrel of monkeys where all the monkeys are loose and the barrel is missing, that’s pretty much my life.
But, Hike it Baby is my village. And I believe in the Hike it Baby movement. Why? It brings so many like-minded families together and introduces even more people to the idea of the great outdoors. So, back to my opening, what do we really have to overcome? Life. And it can be intense … even for those of us not expecting new babies, not trying to wayfind in a new place. Even just trying to find ways to expand the idea of an HiB village and time outdoors while beating the summer heat or the winter cold can be intense.
With that said, here are some ideas for great, less strenuous activities that you can do with Hike it Baby or on your own. But, let’s get real, doing things with friends is way more fun! So, post it to the calendar and see what happens!
A Park and Play is always amazing fun! Why? Let the kids run around and you can be as active as you want and need for you!
Outdoor Concerts (or even – gasp! – indoor) that are open to the public can be great too. Meet beforehand for a walk, picnic or even the welcome circle, and then head on over to the activity. Need ideas for how to find these? Your parks and rec department or public library may prove to be just the resource you need! And, bonus, they might partner with you on other ideas, like story time or clean-up walks that are mutually beneficial!
Splash Pads (summer only) are a great way to explore and play outside without spending all of your energy on an active hike!
Toddler-led anything! Let’s face it, herding toddlers is always entertaining. And while some of them run ahead, the GPS map of your pace and walk looks more like a crazy doodle than any adult hike. That means it’s usually less strenuous for the adults along for the ride. (Bonus non-strenuous points if the hike is somewhere where the kids are corralled – perhaps a boardwalk!)
Themed Activities – granted, these can be as strenuous or non-strenuous as you like. But maybe your group wants to paint rocks, go on a scavenger hunt, host a toddler dance party or costume parade (what toddler needs an excuse to dress up as their favorite superhero, princess, or animal), or even make it an ice cream or Popsicle hike. Or, you could take a look at this calendar of wacky holidays and build a fun themed hike from it!
Bottom line, even if the inside of your head looks like it could use a professional organizer and you’re not up for summiting a peak or any other heart-pumping activity, you can still get outside. In fact, that’s probably when you need a break the most. Take an hour out of your day to recharge and go exploring with your kid. There are plenty of ways to do so on your own or with friends, and I highly encourage you to give it a shot. Amazing memories, guaranteed!