How to Prepare for a Day of Hiking with Children

Hiking with children is an activity that brings innumerable benefits, both physically and psychologically. Learn more in today's article.
How to Prepare for a Day of Hiking with Children
Sharon Capeluto

Written and verified by the psychologist Sharon Capeluto.

Last update: 24 March, 2023

If you enjoy outdoor activities and want to instill this healthy habit in your children, you’ve surely thought about hiking. What a great idea! Hiking with children is a very interesting opportunity to give your little ones an experience that prioritizes contact with nature.

When we talk about hiking, we’re referring to any hike that takes place in natural environments. On this journey, you cross mountains, forests, rivers, or canyons on foot. It’s an activity that has innumerable benefits. Among them, we can mention the feeling of revitalization and energy, the reduction of stress, and the strengthening of the cardiovascular system.

The idea involves staying far from electronic devices and within spaces where fresh air abounds. This way, children are offered the possibility of connecting with the value of nature. However, when planning a day of hiking with children, it’s essential to consider several issues to make it a safe and enjoyable experience. In this article, we’ll share with you the main recommendations.

Aspects to take into account when hiking with children

Hiking is excellent for awakening or inaugurating the adventurous soul in children. Generally, thanks to their curious attitude and desire to explore, children really enjoy being in natural environments and discovering a diversity of plants and insects, as well as admiring the scenery. However, it’s important to keep in mind that some setbacks or difficulties may arise in addition to the lack of signage that usually exists in these places.

For this reason, it’s essential to take all the necessary precautions to ensure that the trip is a delightful one for all members of the family. Here are some suggestions!

Two children hiking across a field, with sheep grazing in the distance.
It’s important to talk to children about the possible dangers we’re exposed to and why they shouldn’t stray away from us while hiking.

Explain to children what hiking is all about

It’s essential for little ones to have some notion of what they’re going to encounter in this activity. If it’s the first time they’re doing it, we can tell them that it’s a walk through spaces surrounded by nature. It’s important to anticipate that they’ll walk more than usual, but that you’ll make all the necessary stops to rest and eat.

To generate enthusiasm, we can tell them some of our previous experiences in hiking, such as what we’ve discovered and how we felt doing it. In turn, the day before, we can ask for their help to prepare backpacks with all the relevant items. That way, they’ll feel that they’re part of the adventure from minute zero.

Make sure you have all the necessary items

When you go hiking with children, you have to be more careful and cautious than usual. The equipment must be just what you need, and no more than what you need. As for clothing, you must make sure that it’s comfortable and in accordance with the weather. The same goes for footwear: No flip-flops! Regarding backpacks, they should contain the following:

  • Water and cool drinks
  • Food of nutritious quality
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Sun protection cream
  • First aid kits with basic elements
  • Jackets, in case the temperature drops
  • Bags to dispose of waste
A family waiting for one of their children to catch up during a hike.
Respecting and adapting to your children’s pace is a measure that you can’t forget. Remember that the most important thing is to have a good time, so there’s no sense in rushing things.

Choose a low-difficulty trail

There are routes that are highly demanding and are suitable only for adults. When hiking with children, it’s essential to choose a short and easy trail that’s suitable for them. Keep in mind that little ones may need to pause several times during the hike. Also, opt for a family-friendly hike with clear signage and park ranger security.

A walk to enjoy

Once everything is ready, you can venture out for a day of hiking as a family. This is an attractive option to feel part of nature and escape, for a few hours, from the daily routine. In addition, you can generate deep and interesting conversations with your children, which don’t always arise on a typical day. Dare to encourage children to take their first steps in the practice of hiking and you’ll see how much they’ll like it!

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Muñoz Mínguez, A. (2019). Beneficios psicológicos de las salidas escolares a espacios naturales próximos en educación física.
  • Rubio, J. A. (2012). El senderismo como recurso didáctico. e-CO: Revista digital de educación y formación del profesorado, (9), 142-151.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.