Our family loves summer because of the opportunity to spend more time out of doors. We enjoy camping, fishing
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.
We’ve explored hollow logs,
gotten caught in a thunderstorm, waded in creeks,
walked across dams, discovered a butterfly wonderland, hiked in the rain, played in waterfalls,
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.
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
- 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.
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.