Hiking With Your Family
With summer just around the corner, hiking is an awesome way to get outside with your family, get some exercise, and explore nature. Hiking with my kids seemed a little intimidating at first. But I discovered some fun ways to engage my kids along the trail. Here’s what I found:
1. Set the right expectations for you and your children. Maybe it’s less about reaching the top of a mountain and more about embracing the moment to be outside together. Give your kids opportunities to explore along the trail, encourage them to make discoveries, observations, and connections to the nature around them.
2. Pack lots of snacks and water. Nothing brings the morale of a hike down than being thirsty and hungry –especially in the summer sun.
3. Hike in the morning to avoid the heat of the afternoon. Pack sun screen and hats!
4. Try some games:
Eye-Spy: take turns “spying” something along the trail and have everyone else guess what it is.
Alphabet Game: Start at A and take turns identifying something along the trail that begins with the letters of the alphabet.
Engage the Senses: You can play even if you’re resting. Have your kids see how many sounds they can hear, smells they can smell etc. while you’re sitting down and taking a breather.
Nature Play: Give your children moments to engage their imagination. Let them… climb rocks and logs. Pick up sticks and rocks that they find interesting. Peek under stones to see what lives under them. Get dirty.
Having regular, unstructured play out in nature is so important for a child’s physical, emotional, and mental development. Exposure to nature translates to better social skills and stimulates many skills needed for success in school. The Arroyo Adventure here at Kidspace is a wonderful spot to practice Nature Play, with opportunities for water play, fort building, and climbing.
The Los Angeles area has lots of wonderful trails. I’ve used both of these helpful resources to help find our next hiking adventure: