Hiking with Kids

Our family loves summer because of the opportunity to spend more time out of doors.  We enjoy camping, fishing

Colby (3) with one of his catches

and water fights and games of tag in the backyard, but one of our favorite outdoor activities is exploring some of the hiking trails in our area.

Colby (3)

We’ve explored hollow logs,

Matthew (11) is brave enough to back into this huge hollow log

gotten caught in a thunderstorm, waded in creeks,

Sadie (6) after 'accidentally' falling into the creek

walked across dams, discovered a butterfly wonderland, hiked in the rain, played in waterfalls,

Kaitlin admires a waterfall

found new kinds of caterpillars, flowers and fruit, seen snakes, dragonflies and deer, but no bears (much to the children’s disappointment), gotten very muddy and Colby (3) is certain he found an owl tree.

Colby's owl tree

Hiking provides lots of opportunities for the kids to explore and learn in a real life setting.  Isn’t that what homeschooling is all about?

Here are some tips to make the most of a hike with your kids.

Things to bring:

  • Portable snacks
  • Water bottles
  • Nature journals and pencils
  • Towels (for wading)
  • Containers to catch interesting critters
  • Camera (to take pictures of wildlife and plants that you want to learn more about)
  • Field guides (birds, plants, flowers, insects, etc.)
  • Sunscreen and bug spray
  • Binoculars
  • Whistles – Each of our children has a whistle hung around their neck when we hike. If they ever can’t see anyone in our family that they are to stop and blow their whistle until we come get them.

Things to do:

  • Hike slowly – let your kids explore their surroundings and wonder at the things that they see.
  • Be prepared for detours – kids love to climb rocks, follow side trails and explore water.
  • Have a picnic – We love to carry in granola bars, jerky, nuts and trail mix and then stop at some lovely spot and have a picnic lunch.
  • Wade or swim – You get bonus points if you find the perfect wading place and have your picnic there.
  • Talk to your kids – Hiking provides a wonderful opportunity to engage your children in discussion, to tell stories or talk about the wonders of God’s creation.
  • Let your kids be kids – Water and mud are easy to clean and your kids will joyfully tell their children about the adventures that you shared with them.
  • Hike in the rain – One of our kid’s favorite hikes was when we got caught in a massive thunderstorm about 2 miles from the car.  We ended up running much of the way back to the car, arrived sopping wet and were thankful to blast the heat on the way home.  While I wouldn’t suggest hiking in a thunderstorm, a little rain makes a hike an adventure.
  • Follow up when you get home – Look up unknown plants and animals, show the children the trail you followed on a map and answer any questions that you were unable to answer while you were ‘in the field’.

Do you enjoy hiking with your kids?  What are some ways that you have fun and spend time with your kids during the summer?

Returning  August 5th

Connie, KimC, the  Deputy Headmistress and I are back together and we’re inviting you into our homes each Thursday during the month of August.  What makes a home work for a large family and what doesn’t?

Get your cameras and posts ready because we’ll include a linky and you’ll have the opportunity to share your homes as well.  August 5 we’ll talk about our yard/porch and entryway.

Click to go to the BF community to leave your comment

Popsicle is giving away three wonderful family trips in their Anything’s Possible with Popsicle Sweepstakes.  To enter kids just need to visit popsicle.com/possibilities and enter the riddle answer from their Popsicle stick.

I’m a Popsicle Brand Ambassador through a compensated Mom Bloggers Club program.

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32 Responses to Hiking with Kids
  1. shannon
    July 22, 2010 | 9:37 am

    We love hiking. We’re in the upstate of SC where the mountains begin and it’s so much fun. My son says “I love to go on adventures!” It’s such a fun, family activity.

    [Reply]

  2. Heather
    July 22, 2010 | 10:42 am

    We really like hiking as a family too, especially in the fall! We recently moved to a big city area and really miss our hiking trails!

    [Reply]

  3. Celee
    July 22, 2010 | 11:10 am

    Our kids are good little hikers. We’re blessed to have a ranch on the edge of and in Palo Duro Canyon. My mom and I take turns carrying little ones (I’ve never been talented enough for baby wearing, but just ordered an ergo baby carrier at your suggestion) and by age 3 they are usually pretty independent. We don’t think anything of it, but sometimes when we have guests with us we realize that our kids hike over pretty rough terrain for their young ages. I guess it’s all what you’re used to. We don’t take much with us, just water- we usually eat back at the house. My mom is great about telling the kids about all the flora we encounter and we look up any unknown tracks or scat when we get back to the house. Good family fun!

    [Reply]

  4. Nicki
    July 22, 2010 | 11:51 am

    If I remember, I try to bring our field guides with us when we hike. We go to a nearby lake/state park that has some great hiking trails. The kids love to look things up as we see them, like animal tracks, flowers, birds, etc.

    [Reply]

  5. Amy Snow
    July 22, 2010 | 1:51 pm

    We haven’t gone yet this year. Definitely need to!!!!

    [Reply]

  6. Tracy
    July 22, 2010 | 2:31 pm

    Great post! We love hiking too. Your list is helpful, some things I hadn’t thought of!

    I would love to know more about water fights…

    Blessings,
    Tracy

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Hi Tracy. Water fights in our backyard take on many forms, from filling up cups and dumping them on each other to spraying each other with the hose and even using water balloons. I posted some pictures and video of one of our balloon water fights.

    [Reply]

    Tracy Reply:

    Thanks so much! I may try this tonight:)It is so hot:)

    [Reply]

  7. Deirdre
    July 22, 2010 | 10:46 pm

    Ditto to everything you said. Hiking is inexpensive fun. Admission generally costs no more for a family of 15 as one of 3! We have hiked everywhere we have lived as well as pts between- northern ME, southern AZ, Germany, to name a few. We are presently enjoying the biodiversity of E TN which is spectacular. I want to share lists of fav trails next time I see you. What surprises my husband and I so frequently is how few families here actually get out and hike. I happy to hear your family enjoys hiking too.

    [Reply]

  8. Margaret
    July 27, 2010 | 1:50 pm

    We love to hike but don’t go nearly often enough. It’s even more fun when the dog can go along. It’s been hot lately but you’ve inspired me to plan a hike when the weather cools off a little!

    [Reply]

  9. Christi
    July 29, 2010 | 8:47 am

    I found the froggy!

    [Reply]

  10. Johanna
    July 29, 2010 | 9:28 am

    I see the froggy!

    [Reply]

  11. Kim
    July 29, 2010 | 9:29 am

    I found this froggy!

    [Reply]

  12. Sharon
    July 29, 2010 | 10:12 am

    I found froggy!

    [Reply]

  13. Rebecca Sarine
    July 29, 2010 | 2:06 pm

    I found the froggy!

    [Reply]

  14. Kansas
    July 29, 2010 | 2:22 pm

    I see froggy :)

    [Reply]

  15. Bunny
    July 29, 2010 | 2:27 pm

    Kimberly, there is a frog on your site!

    [Reply]

  16. Alice
    July 29, 2010 | 2:52 pm

    Froggy hopped over here to go on the hike with the kids.

    [Reply]

  17. Amber Smith
    July 29, 2010 | 2:54 pm

    Yay, I’ve spotted Froggy!

    [Reply]

  18. Kimarie
    July 29, 2010 | 3:40 pm

    Froggy sure hops around a lot! Like we’ve all had to do yesterday and today… :-)

    [Reply]

  19. Tracy
    July 29, 2010 | 4:04 pm

    Yay! I spy with my little eye Froggy in this post.

    [Reply]

  20. LMC502
    July 29, 2010 | 4:19 pm

    I found Froggy!
    lmclockedile[at]gmail[dot]com

    [Reply]

  21. Brooke
    July 29, 2010 | 4:44 pm

    i found that sneaking little frog

    [Reply]

  22. Renata
    July 29, 2010 | 6:14 pm

    Love that Froggy was here – perfect post to “hide” him on!

    [Reply]

  23. Lesli C
    July 29, 2010 | 7:47 pm

    Found the frog! :-)

    [Reply]

  24. nancy
    July 29, 2010 | 9:31 pm

    here is froggy

    [Reply]

  25. Brandi
    July 29, 2010 | 9:34 pm

    I found froggy #2!

    [Reply]

  26. Anna Cahoon
    July 29, 2010 | 9:51 pm

    I found Froggy!!

    [Reply]

  27. Rebecca P
    July 30, 2010 | 8:13 am

    I found a froggy…not sure if today counts though :-)

    [Reply]

  28. Tracy
    July 30, 2010 | 9:37 am

    Found the froggy that hopped on over to here!

    [Reply]

  29. Jenni Dallas
    July 30, 2010 | 11:49 pm

    I see the frog!!

    [Reply]

  30. Jen
    September 7, 2010 | 3:32 pm

    The whistles are a great idea! I’m planning to take my little guys hiking and camping this fall.

    [Reply]

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