12 Tips for Hiking with Toddlers
1) Select an easy hike – something less than a mile round trip, with no vertical rock faces to climb, after all they are toddlers! A recent hike to Pitcher Mountain was perfect for us.
2) Make sure to choose a hike that has an interesting and exciting final destination – a fire tower, water fall, or a cave add to the excitement of plain old walking in the woods.
3) Proper footwear and clothing that is weather appropriate is a good place to start before heading to the trails.
4) Let them carry their own backpacks – this is huge and really reinforces the adventure aspect of the hike.
5) Allow them to choose their own snacks and drinks and have them pack them into their backpacks.
6) Let them pack up something cool and be sure to tell them how important it is that they are carrying that specific item – a pair of binoculars, a compass, or even a trail map you downloaded of the internet helps them feel important.
7) Pack a simple first aid kit, complete with Cars, or Looney Tunes Band-Aids and some Anti-itch ointment for any bug bites that develop on the car ride home.
8) At the trail head, a good kid friendly bug repellent and sunscreen will help keep the bugs and sun from ruining a good time.
9) Make a game of having them find and point out trail markers as you make your way up the trail.
10) Be sure to stop frequently to point out local flora and fauna – like wild blueberry or blackberry bushes.
11) At the summit, or exciting destination half way though your trip, stop for a picnic lunch or snack and admire the view.
12) Have fun, relax, and enjoy the moment!