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Hiking is a great way to get your heart rate up, enjoy the outdoors, and get your kids away from the television. Overall, it’s a great activity for the whole family.
My son has been asking for the last few days to head out for a hike. He simply wanted to get outdoors and away from the house. While it may seem convenient in the moment to go hiking, it's actually a great activity for both you and your child. If you have somewhere close by for hiking, then there's really no excuse.
To my surprise, we ended up hiking with my son for about an hour. He generally gets bored of walking pretty quickly - hiking was the perfect activity for us. We found some cool rocks, some animal droppings, and plenty of sticks. We weren’t trying to get anywhere quickly, we were just out to have an adventure. My son was ready to be done by the end, but had a really good time.
Later that same evening, we decided to take the little brother out with us as well. The great thing about having taken my son hiking earlier in the day was that he was showing his little brother all of the same things that I had shown him earlier in the day. We didn’t spend nearly as long, but it was a lot of fun.
Don’t try to hike too far
This was one of our earliest issues when we would hike. I would want to hike really far, and I’d want to get there in a reasonable amount of time. My son really didn’t want to hike with me as I was in a rush to get to the end of the hike.
When your kids are younger, setting a far away goal is really hard. You need to start with something more moderate in terms of intensity, and not try to get too far into it. Your kids will enjoy it more.
Take your time
In addition to not trying to hike too far, don’t push your kids too fast. They love to explore, look at things, throw rocks, and just have a good time. They don’t want to run up the trail, and if you’re not trying to hike too far, this will help with taking your time.
We’ve found that the more we go back hiking in the same spots, the kids will gradually go further up the trail as they’ve explored the trails they’ve been on before. If we’ve not let them do that, then they either don’t want to hike further, or are quite a bit slower.
Try to show different parts of nature
Since you're taking your time, it’s a great chance to point out things that kids may not have noticed. Point out to them rocks, insects, animal prints or droppings, and other things in nature. Explain to your kids why you’re seeing these things in this place and talk about safety in nature.
On our recent hike, we were hiking up a slope that wasn’t really a major hiking trail. We came across a cross trail that was clearly used by deer in the area. I pointed out the path, the droppings, and talked about how the deer were traveling along this trail. My son started to notice other similar trails as we moved our way up the slope.
Hike often with your kids
The more often you get out in nature, the more likely your kids will want to hike more. They’ll enjoy exploring new areas, and they’ll get used to moving up and down a trail.
Hiking is also a great way for you to get your heart pumping and enjoy some fresh air as well. Hiking really helps me to clear my head, and focus on the things that are most important to me. Physical activity often does that, but doing it in nature clears the head just a little bit more.
Hiking is a fun activity, and something for the whole family to enjoy. Get out, and enjoy nature.