Hiking is a Great Family Activity

Hiking is a great way to get everyone outdoors and into nature.

Hiking is a great way to get everyone outdoors and into nature.

Hiking is a great outdoor activity that parents and children can enjoy together. It’s also a good way for kids to learn about nature and the environment and maybe some wildlife too, if you can coax the kids into an early start.

Of course, you might have to do a bit of coaxing to get the kids to go hiking, at all! Our three children encompass the entire spectrum of motivation, when it comes to hiking. Our oldest daughter (8) actually bugs us to go hiking, while her younger sister (7) would never go hiking, if it were up to her. It’s too soon to tell which side our son’s (4) motivation will fall on.

Hiking with kids goes a lot smoother when there is some kind of destination, such as a waterfall or a lake, instead of just an out-and-back loop. At least for our younger ones, telling them that we’re “going to the waterfall” gets them a lot more motivated than telling them that we’re just going for a hike.

To date, our kids have been hiking in their regular clothes, which have worked just fine. Our oldest daughter is starting to do three or four miles with me, though, which is starting to justify some better, more breathable, clothing. Buying specialty clothing for kids is always expensive, since they grow so fast, but in this case it’s justified. When kids are just learning to enjoy hiking, the last thing that you want to happen is a bad experience from chaffing against damp clothing.

From a cost standpoint, though, hiking is relatively low-cost compared to other outdoor sports. A child can be up and hiking for the cost of a water bottle and maybe some new socks or shorts. All of our kids hike in their regular tennis shoes, which seems to work just fine.

Hiking is a great way to introduce your children to the outdoors and develop their curiosity about nature and wildlife.

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9 thoughts on “Hiking is a Great Family Activity

  1. Thanks Mike, you reminded me that I need to install the comment editing plugin. I’d say if your girls are taking your grandkids camping and hiking, then you must have done something right! I look forward to the day when I can take my grandkids camping.

  2. We took our kids hiking right from the beginning. We even went backpacking with them when the youngest was 3 years old. Each of the girls had their own little backpack — for their Raggedy Ann dolls that my wife had made and a little bit of snacks.

    When they got into their teens, our oldest was always wanting to go camping hiking when we were on vacation, while the youngest preferred to stay in hotels and go shopping.

    Today, the daughter who preferred hotels and shopping has introduced her kids to the fun of hiking and camping. The older daughter and her hubby also hike and camp, when they can.

    Mike Goad’s last blog post..Old CCC Bridge — rebuilt

  3. Mike, we do the same thing – we’re always checking something out. Yesterday we found some huge buckeye seed pods (size of small oranges), some big sugar pine cones, and a weird rock formation that was stratified vertically. I figure that as long as they’re having fun, I’ll sit there and watch them play with with pine cones!

  4. Yeah Mes, the good thing about these clothes is that they’re tough! Ryan’s got some stuff from some of our friends that he’ll grow into next year.

    VE – our state park is also 5 minutes from the house…but only as a crow flies! It’s a winding, twisty, road that’s 10 miles long and takes 30 minutes to drive – heh.

  5. My kids enjoy the hike more if we make it a point to stop for a break every once in awhile. It goes against my nature as a “fast packer”, but these little pit stops have actually produced some of the more memorable moments on our adventures.


    Mike’s last blog post..I have an idea…

  6. Yeah, it’s nice to have Forest Park only 5 minutes from the house. Lots of hiking year round here.

    Hey, this should be good news to you…

    You are about to be removed from my blog roll!!! It’s nothing personal…I’m restarting for 2009 this Thursday. Were you at the top of the list in 2008? If not, here’s your chance to be. A single comment gets you on my blog roll. Keep commenting and you’ll stay at the top. Hope to see you in 2009!

    VE’s last blog post..Stupid Snow

  7. Love the point about having a destination, makes a BIG difference!
    I’d also like to add that as the norm for American kids seems to be obesity, hiking is a great way to enjoy burning some calories!
    As for out growing those expensive specialty clothes, nothing wrong with “hand-me-downs” to a sibling or blessing some less fortunate children.