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December 2, 2010 / milesandhisfavorites

A Kid On Parenting: Outdoors Ho!

Many parents believe that a hike is the perfect form of working out.  I must agree, it is great.  But look what Myrna Blyth and Chriss Winston suggested in their book How To Raise An American:

  • The Appalachian Trial
  • The Lewis And Clark National Trail
  • Mormon Pioneer Historic Trail
  • Nez Pierce Historic Trail
  • Pony Express National Trail
  • Santa Fe Historic Trail
  • Trail Of Tears

Okay, one of these trails goes from Maine to Georgia.  Call me old fashioned, but isn’t that a little long for a family hike?  If you want an enjoyable family hike, here are some steps you ought to take before taking the real ones.

  1. Inform your kids early on about the hike.  It’ll get them excited and will hopefully persuade them to help out with the preparations.
  2. Go online to find out about hiking trails in your area.  Choose one that’s fairly reasonable based on age.  Younger children around the age of five or six should only hike about a mile, tops.
  3. Learn about local flora and fauna (plants and animals).  If you’d like, take binoculars and a guidebook or two!  Have fun trying to identify that bird you saw!
  4. Pack a healthy lunch.  Depending on how long you expect to be hiking, pack either snacks or a light lunch.  Try some healthy granola bars, or a bag of carrot sticks for snacks, and pack sandwiches for lunches.
  5. Get going!  We all know how difficult it can be to drive in a car with kids and not go loopy.  So if it’ll take a while to drive to the trail, pack books or talk about what you might see on the hike.

Now that you’ve gotten past the hiking stage, let’s chat about camping.  A single weekend is great for a busy family, but families that are more easygoing could probably do a whole week with the right preparations.  You’ll certainly need:

  • A tent
  • Sleeping bags
  • A lantern or flashlight
  • Food, and lots of it
  • Water, and lots of it
  • Portable stove
  • First aid kit
  • Batteries
  • Handheld mirror (if you’re not camping in a campground)
  • Pocket knife (for emergencies only)

You might also want to bring a fishing pole if you want to catch your food.  Anyway, camping is a fun, skill-building activity that can be a lot of fun!  Once, when we were camping, me and Eli always ran across a bike and jogging trail that was near our campground and “explored” the nearby bushes.  Try a short daily walk in the vicinity of your campsite.  All in all, once you’re prepared, the outdoors are the best thing ever!


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