Getting your kids hiking and enjoying the outdoors takes some planning. Remember kids might have less stamina than adults. They certainly have different interests. While a hike might seem like the perfect de-stressor for adults, it might be a stressor for kids. Planning your adventure will change the day from a forced march to hiking with fun things for kids.
Creating a scavenger hunt takes a little bit of planning on your part. If you have hiked the trail before, it will be easier to develop the list for the hunt. The length and complexity of items on the list should be adapted for the age group of the young hikers. Do not plan on the scavenger hunt lasting the entire time of the hike. Kids will become bored with an activity that lasts too long.
There are few different ways that you can formulate the list for the scavenger hunt. You could do it as an ABC game. In this format you do not need to create a list. As you are hiking, call out that everyone is looking for something that begins with an A. The game continues from there. Or you can do it as an “I spy” activity, which again does not necessitate a list in advance. You say, “I spy something yellow.” Points can be awarded for the person who first spies the yellow. For older kids, a scavenger hunt list that has them looking for different types of leaves etc. can add to the fun of hiking.
While you might want to take your kids hiking to separate them from technology, you might have been successful incorporating meaningful technology into your hike. Geocaching is one means to accomplish this. You can download an app on your Smartphone. Then as a seeker using your Smartphone you use the clues provided to search for hidden caches.
Before you start your hike, you can find what has been hidden in the area of your hike. You should also check the ratings available online before you hike. Some of the caches might necessitate too long of a hike for your kids, so you want to avoid those. Depending on the ages of the kids, they can help with your logging of the caches you find and what you leave behind.
If you are planning on hiking in an area that does not have cell phone access, you will need a GPS unit to participate in geocaching while hiking.
While orienteering is not available everywhere, it is a great activity to make hiking fun with kids. Orienteering combines outdoor exercise, teamwork, map, and compass skills for your kids to learn. Similar to scavenger hunts, orienteering requires you to search for checkpoints. These points are called controls, which tracks your time and success at finding the neon-colored checkpoints.
Courses are ranked, using colors, by difficulty. Many trails are located in local and state parks. You are able to sign up for many courses in advance. Check online for information about orienteering near you.