Inspiration and Advice for Getting Out on Trail with Kids
Time on trail with kids can create magical memories that last a lifetime. Here are some tips from members of our community on how to get out with your own kids.
Spending time with kids is always an adventure. Their energy, creativity and enthusiasm can turn any moment from mundane to magical. (Or sometimes into a meltdown.) If you love getting out on trail, bringing the kids you love along is well worth the work. Sure, sometimes the scales will tip more toward meltdown than magical, but once you get home — and in the years to come — the magic is what you’ll remember.
Over the years, many wonderful people have shared their stories and advice about getting outside with their kids. We know getting outside is one of the best ways to care for ourselves, so we thought we’d revisit the tips they shared with us over the years.
Don't underestimate kids
Outdoor enthusiast and photographer Gabe Grayum has been adventuring with his now 13-year-old son Ethan since Ethan was an infant. Grayum firmly believes in the importance of immersing kids in the wild, and the ability of young hikers to tag along on grown-up adventures. He encourages adults to not underestimate how much kids are capable of.
93 miles with a baby
Hiking the Wonderland Trail is an exciting accomplishment for anyone. This family, however, did it with a 9-month-old baby. It’s quite the feat, but reading their story, it seems easier than you might imagine.
New baby, new way to hike
For more about hiking with a baby, WTA employee Krista Dooley wrote about how she returned to hiking after the birth of her first daughter several. It was a slower process than she’d envisioned, and there were some bumps, but it also opened up a whole new world on trail. (Now, Krista has a second daughter and the whole families still enjoys outdoors time.)
They'll hike their own hike
Gisselle Pichardo was the first person in her family to take up hiking as a hobby, and she and her husband are working on getting their three daughters interested in it. It's not always their favorite thing to do, but the girls each have their own favorite things about being outside.
Ideas for motivation
While kids are capable of way more than we can ever imagine, it’s also true that sometimes, they’re just not gonna want to hike. When that happens, it helps to have some tricks in your pocket to encourage them along. We collected some advice from our community, including some WTA staff.
Make a goal
When you're raising kids, it's easy to let your own big goals slip. Setting a big goal — one that sounds fun to you, now one that sounds onerous — can be a way to ensure that your own dreams don't get sidetracked. Jessi Loerch, WTA's magazine editor, set goals to camp every month for a year and then, when that was a success, to backpack every month for a year. Often, her kiddo came along, but she also often went alone. And she got out way more than she would have otherwise.
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