Have a Great Weekend with Kids – Fun of Hiking and Checklist for Beginners

I always try new weekend activities with my children. I want them to have weekends that are different from the rest. One more reason is to let them expose to different kinds of activities and see what they prefer.

One of the weekend getaways that my whole family loves is hiking.

We are lucky to get to know about a local Hash Harriers club through a friend. And this club organizes hikes/runs once a month for young participants.

For the first-time hiking that I joined, I felt so good after the walk. It was my first since many years back. It’s good to get connected to Mother Nature again after all these years.

My elder daughter was delighted, especially when she got a chance to play in a stream. Even though she was hesitant at first, but now she can’t wait to jump into the water when she sees one.

Likewise, my younger son dared not to even come down and walk for the first trip. He held tight to me throughout the journey. Now, when I carry him, he asks me to let him down on the trek and go into the stream.

Compared to the first trip, my kids have “improved” a lot.

I urge you to let your children connect to nature on a regular basis. Bring them out hiking. Let them appreciate the natural environment around us. Don’t let them play too much computer games.

Read this article by Washington Trails Association on Why go hiking with your kids?

Here’s one part of the article:

“Sometimes called “green bonding,” childhood experiences in nature are important for many reasons, not the least of which are good health, exercise, and quality time away from the TV. Connecting our children with nature also helps ensure a future generation that experiences the outdoors and cares about protecting it. And studies show (including one undertaken by REI a few years back) that kids who experience the outdoors early tend to retain that interest as adults.”

If you don’t have a local Hash Harriers club near you, you can get some parents to jointly organize the trips on a regular basis (say once a month) – by taking turns. Try look for places where your kids can play with water – such as waterfalls and streams.

For those who are first timers, here’s a checklist of what you need for the hiking. This is compiled based on our own experience. You may want to modify to suit your hiking needs and trails.

The list is made with the assumption of hiking in the summer or in a tropical country.

  1. Spare clothes – to be safe, prepare 2 sets especially for kids.
  2. Table, chairs, and stools – for you to relax after the hike.
  3. Floor mat – for picnic purposes.
  4. Beach toys – for your kids playing in the streams.
  5. Drinking water – this is a must to prevent dehydration.
  6. Snacks – such as fruits, sandwiches, and biscuits. Some parents even bring wine. Everything tastes so good after hiking in the woods.
  7. Map – you need this if you are new to the place. Or GPS.
  8. Slippers – you slip these on after your hike. Let your toes breathe after a long hike.
  9. Running/hiking shoes – obviously you can’t go hiking without them.
  10. Insect repellant – to prevent mosquitoes and other insects from biting.
  11. Backpack – we use this to keep our spare clothes.
  12. Waist pouch – we carry this along while hiking. To keep important stuff like water, phone, car keys, and so forth.
  13. Old newspapers – to keep your car boot clean from dirty sneakers and laundry.
  14. Plastic / Waterproof Container – alternatively, it is used for keeping wet, muddy shoes.
  15. Spare tire – make sure it’s inflated as you never know when you need it. Some roads leading to trails are not tarred.
  16. Swimwear – for splashing time in the water, especially for kids.
  17. Towels – you need it to dry yourself after the dipping.
  18. Water – not for drinking but for washing up before changing to dry clean clothes. You may need to bring large volume of water if you walk through muddy trails.
  19. Hats – protection from heat or rain.
  20. Ponchos – very handy on rainy days.
  21. First aid kit – for cuts and bruises.
  22. Contact numbers – bring along your mobile phone, if you are lost, call someone who can help you.
  23. Camera – Optional. To capture the exciting moments of the trip. Not to forget the beauty of Mother Nature.

This post is written in support of Blog Action Day.

See also:

10 Ways to Help Your Child Connect With the Natural World