Your kids love to play outside, but if their idea of “the wilderness” is the neighborhood park, it’s time to venture a little farther! From the fresh air and exercise to the chance to learn about animals and nature, the benefits of hiking are many for everyone in your family. Check out our tips for making the most of a hike with kids – there’s an entire world just waiting to be discovered!
Rule number one for dressing kids for a hike? Keep them comfortable and dry. The type of clothing depends largely on the hiking area and the weather. If it’s going to be hot, opt for short-sleeve shirts and shorts, longer socks, sturdy hiking or gym shoes, and a hat to keep the sun off their face and neck. In cold weather, dress your kids in layers, and skip the cotton in favor of wool – cotton retains sweat moisture, which can leave them feeling chilly.
Tip: Hiking is seriously fun – and seriously messy! Remove mud, dirt and grass stains from hiking clothes with the help of Tide PODS Ultra OXI. They contain six times the cleaning power* vs. the next leading OXI detergent and contain built-in pre-treaters to fight tough stains.
Take Time for Snacks and Breaks
Make sure to pack plenty of water and a few favorite snacks, and take frequent breaks to refuel and rehydrate, especially if your kids are younger. Trail mix, granola bars and beef jerky are satisfying, portable options. Toss a pack of Pampers Sensitive Wipes in your backpack to clean up sticky fingers and faces after snack time.
Turn it into a Learning Experience
To get the most out of your hike, use it as an opportunity to teach your kids about nature. Younger kids will get a kick out of spotting birds and squirrels and identifying the colors of leaves, pine cones and other flora and fauna. Older kids might be interested in geocaching, conducting a scavenger hunt and being “in charge” of the map. Make sure to practice a “leave no trace” mentality, and avoid picking wildflowers or removing plants and rocks from their natural habitat.
When you’re in nature’s backyard, it’s smart to be prepared for the unexpected. From ticks to poison ivy, make sure to educate yourself before your family hike so you know what to look for – and what to stay away from. Keep these safety basics in mind:
- Whether the sun is blazing or behind the clouds, make sure your crew is covered in sunscreen. Bring the bottle for reapplication later in the day. (And don’t forget sun protection for you, too! Olay Whips SPF 25 is a great, air-light choice.)
- Don’t underestimate the importance of wearing proper shoes. You don’t necessarily need to purchase hiking boots, but everyone in your group needs a pair that is both sturdy enough to make the trek and comfortable enough to keep their feet blister-free.
- Kids in grade school and older should carry a safety whistle and know when and how to use it: If they are lost, they should stop, stay where they are and blow the whistle in bursts of three. Talk to them about always staying within your sight while hiking.
- Bring a first-aid kit for any unexpected emergencies.
*Stain removal of one Tide PODS Ultra OXI pac vs. six doses of leading OXI liquid detergent, in standard machines.