If you’re ready to ditch the traffic and craziness of society, then hiking may be a good option for you and your family. It’s a chance to introduce a slower activity that doesn’t involve screens, gamepads, and texting. The day encourages quiet conversation, observations of nature, and a physical workout beneficial for both body and mind (Psychology Today). Before loading up into the car and hitting a trail, it’s best to really think about your kids, their needs, and the venture that is about to begin. Consider the following four things before your journey.
1. Prepare for Nature’s Elements
Nature is beautiful, but it isn’t always comfortable. You certainly don’t want to spend hours listening to grumbles and complaints about bug bites and sunburn, so you’ll want to stock up on some products before heading out. Bug spray and mosquito bite treatment are both useful in keeping people itch-free. A UV protectant is also important for the skin, battling the rays from creating tender, painful burns. You may also want to have hats and solid shoes. Don’t let the kiddos growl about hurt toes or soar feet.
2. Pack for Hydration
When the body is outside and exercising, it requires plenty of water. Most adults need at least 64 oz. a day, more if pushing the body harder. Children require about 8 oz per year of their age. Therefore, a child 5 years would need at least 40 ounces. Since most parents don’t have time to lug around a cooler or a zillion cups, consider investing in heavy-duty bottles. Provide them at the start of the walk, stopping periodically to ensure that everyone is drinking.
3. Review the Paths
Know where you plan to walk before going out. Speak to others who have gone before, asking about the terrain’s difficulty and how long it may take. For the first trip, select something that isn’t going to be too challenging, focusing more on the fresh air and observations. As kids get used to trails, you can choose some that prove more difficult with rockier paths.
4. Load Up on Snacks
Fuel little bodies, as well as your own, from start to finish the trek. Hunger produces hangry walkers who are not likely to be pleasant. Pack something nutritional such as protein bars, bananas, and apples. These don’t require refrigeration, but they fill tummies and energize.
An adventure in the wilderness is something that your family may cherish for years to come, offering a chance to connect in a new and simple way. Be proactive, and plan accordingly to keep people happy and satisfied.