I love hiking with my children. Hiking was one of my favorite pastimes and I looked forward to hiking with my kids once they were old enough to walk a few miles.
Hiking is great exercise, an interesting way to learn about nature, and a free day out for the whole family. Although you may have to pay for parking here in the UK, hiking is usually a fairly inexpensive way to have fun for the whole family!
But if you’ve come across this article, chances are you’ve already tried hiking with your kids and it all ended in tears right?
This has happened to us many times.
I drank a stop before leaving the house because going for a walk is boring and the whole walk is full of moaning. The kids were always asking if we were going to get there soon and the only thing they were looking forward to was a picnic.
So today I’m sharing my top tips to ensure a successful hike with kids!
This post was created in collaboration with Very and shows you where all the coats and shoes in these photos come from. Very’s outdoor leisure collection is great and I thought it was also very convenient to have everything for the whole family in one place.
Go with older kids
My first few walks with my kids were only possible because I was with friends who had older kids. When you’re in a group, everyone walks farther and has more fun.
I think we can all make further progress if we involve as many families and children as possible. The older kids will lead the way and the younger kids will follow without question.
Don’t call it a walk
As I said before (and I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times by now), walking is boring. Most children hate going for walks. The moment the word “W” is mentioned in the house, there is an immediate outcry. Despite this, our kids love going for walks!
So now I hardly ever go for a walk. We go to waterfalls and beaches. We go to a cafe or “walk to the village.” But we never go for a walk.
Pack the perfect picnic
My life has become so much easier now that I rarely leave the house without a picnic!
I start most mornings by having a picnic. Because even if you don’t go for a walk, you know you’ll eat a picnic at some point in the day!
- chopped fruit
- pasta salad
- cold pizza
- cocktail sausage
- cheese and crackers
- vegetable sticks
- Scotch egg
- sausage roll
- hard boiled eggs
- potato salad,
Travel Hack Tip: I always end up going on too many picnics because it’s better to have too much food than not enough. Make sure to pack everything properly and include frozen blocks in your insulated picnic backpack to keep everything fresh. That way nothing goes to waste and the leftovers can be used for tomorrow’s picnic.
Comfy, warm, waterproof shoes
Nothing can stop you from hiking with kids like wet or cold little feet.
The boys and I have been wearing Adidas Terex boots lately and we all love them. They’re super comfortable and warm, with ankle support and great grip, but they’re also so lightweight that I happily wear them all day like I would wear trainers.
I have Terrex Trailmaker Mid Cold.rdy hiking shoes
The children’s version of Joseph has the same thing.
And George is a mid Gore-Tex hiking shoe.
I love these shoes because my boys can wear them as daily trainers or go hiking. I don’t mind paying a little extra for shoes like this.
Easily packable waterproofs
Why doesn’t my child want to wear a coat? Please tell me it’s not just my child?
They’ll spot another hiker in the distance, and if that person isn’t wearing a coat, they’ll all take their coats off!
I don’t seem to feel the cold, but I definitely feel the rain. That’s why I like to have a waterproof jacket that I can easily pack in my bag and grab when the train leaves.
George has an insulated waterproof jacket for this regatta. It has a soft fleece lining and a cozy hood, but it’s lightweight so it’s definitely my favorite!
Let the kids read the map
Even if I don’t need a map for a hike, I still let my kids read maps, whether it’s on my phone, a sign, or a good old paper map. Following the signs and encouraging children to choose their path responsibly is very exciting for children and they usually run along the path to find the next sign.
Have a fun end destination
My kids get bored when they know we’re walking along a circular route with no actual destination in mind.
They are much happier when we walk to waterfalls, lakes, and mountain peaks.
They like to have a goal or destination in mind so that we understand what we are aiming for, rather than just going on a pointless wandering!
Let them be photographer
I take a lot of pictures, so it’s only natural that my children would like to imitate and take pictures as well. They have my old GoPro and take pictures of landscapes, insects, flowers, and even some really cute selfies.
If you don’t have a camera that is safe for your child to use, we highly recommend purchasing an older, used GoPro rather than a “kid camera.” The price is similar, but the quality is much better, even for an older Gopro.
Photo taken by Joseph (5 years old)
Know your route
Needless to say, if you’re hiking with kids, you really don’t want to get lost. Avoid unnecessary walking as this can be very dangerous!
My favorite app for finding hiking routes with kids is AllTrails. The basic version of the app is free and perfect for finding family-friendly routes near you.
End with ice cream
It always, always ends with ice cream!
Keep your car well stocked with everything you need for after your walk
If you are driving to your destination to begin your walk, we highly recommend leaving your car fully loaded.
If your car is well-equipped, you’ll have something to look forward to during the last mile of your walk when everyone starts to limp and get tired.
I like to keep clean clothes, towels, and cold drinks if it’s hot and hot drinks if it’s cold. For cold drinks, put plenty of ice and cooler packs in the cooler, and for hot chocolate, put it in a thermos.
I also like to keep an emergency bag of goodies hidden somewhere in my car.
Read more: My top tips for getting kids outdoors more!