Hike it Baby is dedicated to getting families outdoors and on the trails. What do you do when your “baby” becomes a “big kid” and you have to engage them on the trail to keep it interesting and fun for all? Tracy Haas has a method for her family!
During the summer months I hike with all 3 of my children (11, 7, 3). Sometimes I find it a challenge to keep the older children involved with the hike. Here are some methods that I use:
- Scavenger Hunts: These are great for all children. I make easier ones for the younger ones and harder ones for the older ones.
- Trail Guide: Similar to kid-led hikes, however, as the hike lead I tell them which trail we will do for the day and let them lead along the trail. Give them duties such as checking the map or signs along the trail and decide which way we need to go.
- Buddy System: Sometimes I have the older boys team up with a toddler that they hike with.
- Plan the Hike: I have the older children help me decide day and time or which park or trail we will do for the day.
- Paved Trails: My older boys enjoy paved trails so that they can bring their bikes and/or scooters.
These are just a few things I do to keep them happy with hiking!
We had some other HiB families share their tips for keeping older children enthusiastic about hiking:
Annie: Geocaching! Binoculars, magnifying glasses, a kid digital camera/phone to take photos.
Brandi: I spy! Sing songs. Hide and seek which normally consists of a bright pink or blue coat arm sticking out behind a tree…lol
Katie: I have a hike on the calendar for May where we are going to learn about flowers and plant some at the end.
Shannon: Encourage them to find where you are on the map! (Use landmarks) Estimate how far you have hiked in a given time frame, how many steps taken, spot natural changes in the environment vs. man made changes.
Jennifer: I also bring a compass for my oldest (almost 8). They’ve learned the directions in school so every so often he has the job of reporting which direction the trail is taking us.
Jaime: Questing, also called letterboxing, which is similar to geocaching. Very fun!
What do YOU do to keep older children active and happy on the trails? Tell us here in the comments and be sure to watch the HiB Blog for more fun ideas and inspirational stories to get your family outdoors!