Here's the crew. Pretty intimidating, don't you think??
My kids are always more excited about a new adventure when we've talked about it for some time. For the past month, we had looked into the Appalachian Trail online, read many "hiking tips for kids" sites, and began to pull together all the essential items for our hike.
Here are the things that made a difference with hiking with young kids:
- Every hiker had their own backpack with water bottle, hiking bar, and other snacks.
- Other essential hiking items were spread out among the kids' back packs to spread the weight including:
- Nature Identification cards
- mini first aid kit
- wet wipes
3. Every young hiker had walking stick. We spent a morning with craft paint personalizing each stick a few days before the hike.
The youngest children really relied on their walking sticks to keep them moving. They all were proud of their individual stick and for good reason--they were beautiful!
The sticks really helped the kids focus on the trail and task of walking.
There are so many basics of hiking/camping/outdoor exploration you can teach your young ones while out. As the trail became more difficult we discussed safety out of necessity.
- walking single-file on the trail
- watching where you're walking, on the ground below and all around
- not running
- staying together as a group
- keeping your walking stick close to your body
- asking before climbing cliffs, getting close to the water, etc.
Being prepared with nature identification cards ( you could use an identification book for birds, plants, etc.) gave us many opportunities to stop and identify so many things in nature from trees to fungus. It made being out in nature that much more fulfilling and rewarding.
Rest/snack breaks are the best part of everyone. It is a time to unwind a bit and sit and relax.
Other items to bring on the trail would be our nature journals and our nature kits. We have a running list of future hiking locations to hike and explore that would offer better spots to stop and sketch, identify, and record in a journal.
I'd love to hear your tips for hiking with young kids!
Exploring Nature with Kids series:
the sleepy time gal