Hiking with the Whole Family
Jun 27, 2011
First things first—you’ll want to lay down the rules. Probably the most important hiking rule will be to stick together. With young children you might consider outfitting each with a safety whistle that can be blown if anyone gets separated or loses sight of the group. And you may find it wise to put the slowest of the bunch in the lead and make sure that everyone else stays behind them.
Next comes the “untouchables”, namely poison ivy, oak and sumac. Poison ivy and poison oak are both easily recognized by their three leaves and whitish-green berries. Poison sumac is a little trickier and a visual reference might be in order.
Make sure that everyone’s outfitted with the essentials: good shoes, a water bottle, sunscreen, insect repellent and a few energy snacks. You may also want to carry your own family first aid kit including extra water and sunscreen, antibacterial hand cleaner, tweezers, some bandages, sterile cotton wipes and antiseptic cream.
To keep young children occupied, consider playing games along the trail like I-Spy or singing fun hiking songs to keep the little ones entertained. If you can provide disposable cameras for your young outdoors enthusiasts, it’ll help them stay interested on the trail.
Most of all, remember the point of the field trip: for your family to have fun and to enjoy nature. So make sure to leave room for unexpected discoveries, whether it’s a stray salamander or just an interesting plant that you’ve never seen before. By remaining spontaneous and flexible, you may not all reach your destination, but you’ll ensure a lifelong love for the journey itself.