“A walk in nature walks the soul back home.” – Mary Davis
There is no denying it; getting outside feeds the body, mind, and soul. And the beauty of hiking is that it is an activity for everyone, of all ages and stages. In fact, did you know that a simple hike can reduce stress, increase one’s attention span, improve sensory skills and aid cognitive development?
Not sure about hiking with your little ones just yet? No worries! Here are 5 tips for hiking with kids to help you feel more comfortable on the trails in the Asheville area.
1. Involve the kids in packing
Empower your kids by asking them to help you pack the snacks and water for the trail. If the kids are old enough, have them carry a small backpack with their own water bottle and snack bag.
2. Turn it into play
Try playing fun games like the ABC game (find something that starts with A. Now, B. etc) or create a scavenger hunt list for the hike (find 5 mushrooms, listen for 5 bird calls, find 5 different bugs, etc). Include fun nature items like bugs, animals, leaves, and trees for both of those games.
3. Sure, bribery works
While they may have helped you pack, sometimes you need a “homerun” snack. This is a snack that they don’t know about until about half-way through the trail & you know they are going to LOVE. Use this snack to encourage them to make it to the end of the trail. Perhaps the snack is peanut M&Ms or homemade peanut butter cracker sandwiches. Each kid is different so find your little one’s currency.
4. Bring on the recruits
Sure, hiking alone can be rejuvenating and relaxing. But when hiking with kids in tow, it always helps to have other kids along for the ride. Ask a fellow mama to join you for the hike. Then, you can have company while the kids play on the trail.
5. Make it a habit
If you only do it once a year, your kids are never going to learn to appreciate the experience. However, if you turn nature into a habit – something you experience at least once a month – the kids will begin to look forward to their dose of Vitamin N(ature). Especially if each hike offers a new view, waterfall, or playdate.