Organize a Day in the Woods

Organization Tips for a Day of Hiking with the Family

You’re a parent who loves the woods. You’d like to take the kids out hiking, but to them, hiking sounds like work and no fun at all. How do you encourage them to hit the trail and appreciate the outdoors as much as you do?


Tips to Organize A Day Out with Your Family - Reward Me

Jessica Benetti, mother of Aria, 9, and an amateur triathlete, bikes, swims, runs, and trains outdoors a lot. She shares her ideas for organizing a day in the woods with kids.

5 Tips To Make Hiking Enjoyable for Your Kids As Well

#1 Let Kids Help with Planning

Jessica lets Aria be part of the planning process. “I give her some hiking options. She chooses what we do.” She believes involving kids enables them to think about what they want to experience rather than the activity being forced on them. And she always lets her daughter invite a friend and her mom. Being in the woods is a lot more fun with a buddy. The more the merrier.

#2 Make Preparation Fun

Encouraging the kids to look at maps and pick the destination is another part of Jessica’s fun-filled planning strategy. She also lets them select the snacks and pack their own daypacks. She makes sure they’re not too heavy. Nothing takes the enjoyment out of hiking like a weighty pack. She guides them when choosing the right clothes and shoes, and shows them how to use gear, like a compass or travel first-aid kit.

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#3 It’s All About the Snacks and Water

Jessica brings lots of snacks for the kids to keep their energy up. She likes to pack fruit, nuts and sandwiches. She stops them often to snack and drink plenty of water. Lots of water is essential for keeping hydrated. Water is heavy so she lets the kids carry their own small water bottle while she and the other mom carry the canteens.

#4 Keep Kids Engaged

“Take lots of breaks to look at the scenery,” advises Jessica. Stopping and taking in the surroundings allows kids to “appreciate nature, see the light filtering through the trees and notice how the woods smell.” On their last hiking adventure the kids found a yellow banana slug on the trail. “It was exciting for them,” she says. Finding interesting things motivates kids to keep their eyes open for the next surprise that could be waiting for them around the bend.

#5 Be Supportive and Positive

Kids can run out of steam quickly so make sure the pace doesn’t tire them out or frustrate them. For an athlete like Jessica, she can easily race up a hiking trail, but she knows better. “I let the kids set the pace. We walk leisurely instead.” She believes if the kids feel strong and wish to push themselves, she lets it happen. “It’s about the kids’ experience, so I always try to be supportive and positive.” But what if your child becomes bored and complains? She advises to listen and figure out what’s going on behind the complaint rather than forging on ahead. “Kids want to be heard.” Parents should be ready to cut the hike short. Pushing too much can turn them off of hiking forever.
Fortunately for Jessica, Aria and her friend, finishing a hike is no problem. She says about their last 4-mile, uphill hike, “I was totally proud of their accomplishment. For their reward, they got to play in the creek at the end.”

Hiking isn’t the only activity you can do in the woods with your kids. There’s bird watching, camping, rock scrambling and much more. Whatever activity you decide, share your enthusiasm with them and let them be a part of the planning. Soon they’ll be clamoring for future outings and coming up with outdoor activities on their own.

Find interesting and fun activities that you can do with your family here at our blog.

Read interesting ways to spend time with your family and improve your family life here.

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