Top 7 Outdoor Activities for Kids During Hiking
Ah, the annual hiking trip is around the corner and you are excited about the trip. The kids are also raring to go. However, as you think of the activities that you will do, you are a bit apprehensive. There is too much time and not enough ideas. You certainly don't want the children walking around with long faces, asking (every 5 minutes): "When are we going back home?"
Every parent knows how cranky kids get when they are bored. Worry not, with a bit of imagination, you should be on your way to a fun-filled outing.
It sounds obvious, right? Assuming this is a one day hike, you will need to have lunch or a snack anyway. Since you know what your kids like, start preparing the picnic basket early. Pack enough nutritious fruits and healthy energy foods - your bodies will need this. Water should be in plenty. Avoid fizzy drinks, even though they are easy to transport. You want to provide healthy input to your body so that you can have fun, not battle with the effects of unhealthy carbs and/or flatulence.
If you choose your route properly, you can always slot in a cool stream / small river on the way. There is nothing that kids love more than a splash in the water. You will remember to pack swimming suits and some lotion, now won't you?
3. Spotting Trees/Birds/Rocks
Let the children's interests be your guide in this. Some kids build collections of all manner of small rocks and pebbles. Others like spotting birds and some also have a keen interest in trees. My neighbour's son collects soil in small vials. He has an impressive labelled collection from all the places he has traveled to. Whatever you need for the activity, remember to carry it. If you need a camera or a pair of binoculars, have it handy. If the kids like catching butterflies, prepare the jars accordingly.
4. Family Portrait in the Woods
Well, normal family portraits are so boring. Why not do your own family portrait in the woods? A good camera with a light tripod will do the job. Nature provides a fantastic background - the variety of scenery can even tempt you into taking more than one portrait. As a family, you will always remember this hiking trip when you see the fine portrait above the mantelpiece.
Caution needs to be exercised in this. However, if your kids are old enough, they can practice climbing trees, rocks and cliffs provided they are under suitable parental guidance and using the correct safety gear. The trick is to ensure excitement does not result in taking challenges beyond their abilities. Start small by practising climbing on relatively short trees which are growing on soft ground. You just want to get off the ground a bit and enjoy the feeling of being in the air.
Carrying along the bikes is always a good idea if this is not a logistical nightmare. If the children are wearing helmets and are adequately padded, let them enjoy the wind in their hair as they cycle. You would have to select the route of the hike quite well though to avoid having to push bikes all the way. A place with a long gentle climb (straight or winding), few rocks, well-beaten pathways is ideal.
7. Family Athletics Contest
With a few items, you can convert the hike into a family sports day. A family sack race needs little more than a couple of sacks. Tug of war game just needs some rope and a good surface. Arm-wrestling can be done using the top of a smooth rock as a table-top. A grassy patch is a fantastic wrestling arena, if it is cleared well. Remember the swimming? Make it a competition as well - who can make it to the other side of the stream in the shortest time. Compete on different swimming styles as well. Heck, you can even check who holds the record for holding in their breath under water the longest time. You can be as creative as possible.
There is really no reason the outing should be boring. You can modify these activities as you wish depending on the time you have, the preferences of the kids and other factors such as the prevailing weather of the day.