Hiking with Kids

Hiking with Kids

This post is part of an A-Z series of Spring Outdoor Activities!  Make sure to check out the other great ideas for getting outdoors with your kids!


Hiking with Kids - a fun and simple guide to enjoying hikes with your young kids

About a year ago I found an amazing hiking group where we live. It was especially for moms (and dads) of young kids and babies to get the younger ones outside more often. I’m not much of a hiker but I love being outside an active, so I wanted to get involved. We started hiking weekly and it’s been such a great experience for all of us. I was not much of a hiker before this but the boys and I have been learned together. So I have put together a few tips on getting your kids outside and hiking!

We met Dr Sampson from Dinosaur Train a few months ago at a book festival and found out he has a book on “Raising a Wild Child”.  If you want to get your kids outdoors, you should definitely check it out!  He’s a very perceptive man and really gets kids.

How to Raise a Wild Child on Amazon

First, a few rules.

Bring water

We live in a desert so this is of utmost importance to us.  We always bring a bottle of water for every person and fill up every time we find a spigot (which is often, here).  Even if you’re not in a desert though, do not be caught without water!

Sun Protection

As we are nearing summer, do not forget sun protection!  Wear hats and sunscreen.  Burns can get pretty bad in a short period of time.

Maintain Caution

I’ll admit, the first few times we brought the boys out, we kept them on a short lease.  They needed to learn the rules of hiking before I let them a bit loose.  Now that they’ve been hiking for awhile, I trust them a bit more to explore.


Now for making hiking fun.  First, for most kids, just getting outside is enough.  Point out all the nature.  Animals, plants, weather, etc.  There is SO much to see on a good hike!  Our hiking group is part of a national program called Hike It Baby.  It’s NOT just for babies though.  Kids of all ages are welcome!  We’ve been very happy with our group and I’d highly encourage everyone to see if there is a group in their area!



A few games you can play while hiking.

I Spy

This has become a favorite of the boys all the time.  We spy by color or beginning sounds.  So ‘I spy with my little eye, something that starts with /k/, /k/.  And they guess!  “Can!” “Caterpillar”, “Cactus”.  It’s a great activity to get them looking around and taking in everything around them.  And it helps with beginning sounds at the same time!


Rhyming Games

This is really silly, but we are working diligently on rhyming with Logi-Bear so I am trying to incorporate it ALL the time.  I’ll spot something, like a tree, and say “Logi-Bear, look, is that a free?”  He thinks I’m pretty dumb so he gives me ‘the look’ and says “Mommy, that’s a tree”.  It’s a very subtle lesson, but repetition is the key.



Scavenger Hunts

My mom used to put together special scavenger hunts for my brother and I when we were little and that has remained a very fond memory for me.  I LOVE to do the same for my kids.  It’s a bit different when hiking because you cannot control what you will see.  But it keeps them alert and looking around observing nature.  Since we’ve been hiking in the same area for so long, I have a good idea as to what we will see.


Name That Plant

We have a lot of different types of cactus here and naming the different types has become a little past time for us.  I think it’s most exciting because they know a LOT more than I do.  I can name like 3.  This can be done with any number of plants and animals of course.


Nature Journals

We’ve been really bad about this, but I’m trying to implement nature journals.  Documenting what animals and plants we see, things we find interesting, etc.  We have a habit of finding animals, and naming them, never to be seen again.  On our weekly hike, some ducks regularly show up.  I’d love to get them documented to remember for years to come!


Pretend Play

I can’t get Baloo to do much pretend play these days (he’s ‘almost’ 10!!!) but on a hike, their imaginations are going wild!  They will find rocks and sticks and transform them into completely different things.  In one area there is a small cave, or really a depression in the rocks, but it is their spot!  They always hide there and make up fantastic stories.




Alligator Action Rhyme from Preschool Powol Packets

10 Favorite Outdoor Ball Games from Creative World of Varya

Chalkboard Pretend Play from Our Whimsical Days

Dandelion STEM Activities from My Bright Firefly

Froggy Fun Outdoors from Mrs. LeBlanc’s Learners

Growing Tuff Spot from Tuff Spot Play

Hiking Activities with Young Kids from Royal Baloo

Ice Play from Kori at Home

Jungle Gym Fun  from Something 2 Offer

Let’s Go Fly a Kite from Something 2 Offer

Mud Kitchen Tuff Spot from Clare’s Little Tots

Nature Art Project for Young Children from Uno Zwei Tutu

Obstacle Course from Play & Learn Every Day

Exploring Life at the Pond from Natural Beach Living

Rock Painting for Kids from Something 2 Offer

Ways to Play with Sidewalk Chalk from Crafty Mama in ME

Tactile Nature Letters with Free Printable Letter Templates {Montessori Monday} from Living Montessori Now

Underground Scavenger Hunt from Preschool Powol Packets

Water Play from My Bored Toddler

Xylophone Jars from CraftCreateCalm

Y is for Yellow Photography from Preschool Powol Packets

Our Zoo Atlanta Visit and Review from Crafty Mama in ME


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One Comment

  1. Looks like you live in an ideal place for hiking! We’re in the city, so our “hikes” are usually to the neighborhood park, lol!

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