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Thread: Taking Smaller Children on First Hiking Trip

  1. #1
    Widdler
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    Good Morning So come the beginning of the summer holidays we've booked up to go the the lakes for 4 days with our children. 15, 12, 7 & 5. We've decided our first walk will be up to Loughrigg Fell (via the cave which i think my youngest will like) which i think is a great starter to introduce them too hill walking. While the expect the older ones will be fine im unsure with my 5 & 7 year old.

    What do you other parents do to make the walk a little more exciting for them on their first time, to get them to appreciate the outdoors and make it fun etc? I'm fearful there will be a lot of are we there yet? how much further mummy? while i expect there will be im looking for ideas to make it more fun for them than a chore.

    I have a few ideas but looking for more inspiration!

  2. #2
    Initiate
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    Simplez. Chocolate drops and get used to carrying them part of the way.

  3. #3
    Widdler
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    I was thinking more of maybe making a nature trail along the way or something but hey i think chocolate and piggy backs would work just as well

  4. #4
    Goon stove man's Avatar
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    I try and have a good understanding of what's coming up - either from the map or reccying the walk first. e.g. 'in about 15 minutes we'll get to a really nice stream to throw rocks in' or 'there's a steep climb ahead so we'll stop at the top for a snack'. My kids seem to cope much better by breaking the trip into lots of small parts and just focussing on the next goal.

    My son (then 7) did a 42 mile/8 day backpacking trip last summer, and both my kids (son now 8, daughter 5) are coming on a 8 day/30 miler this summer.

    I never ever carry mine, I don't want them to learn/think that is an option, as when backpacking it isn't. Instead we just have breaks and make sure we always leave a lot of spare time in the planning.

  5. #5
    ‹bermensch cathyjc's Avatar
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    Mum of 2 here, both now (nearly) grown-up.

    There needs to be an objective to the walk, or several objectives along the way. Just going for a walk for it's own sake just doesn't make sense to small kids. And looking at the view doesn't count as an objective (to them). Going to the beach, or a river to play in, or a bothy, does. Took mine bothying (Scotland) long before we took them up the hills.

    Try Geocaching. My 17 year old is hooked and I think it could be something they could all get positive about. Any Geocaches where you are going?

    Also foster the idea that going walking is 'normal' - something everyone does then they won't see even 'see' the option of not doing it.

  6. #6
    ‹bermensch
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    My son now likes hill walking for its own sake, but used to grumble a fair bit unless there were distractions and challenges along the way. Streams to play in fell into the former category, and rocky scrambles the latter.

    We went on a walk the other day with some friends whose daughter is younger than my son and apparently isn't normally keen on just going up a hill or hills. My son and his pal chose the route, which involved slogging up a fell through waist deep (for me) bracken, and the little girl really enjoyed it. I suppose it was a real adventure for her, like being in a jungle, and the hard work didn't bother her at all.

  7. #7
    Ultra King Diddi's Avatar
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    Yes as cathy says Geocaching or treasure hunting for a more exciting name for the younger ones.
    You can create your own too if none around that area.

  8. #8
    ‹bermensch
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    Really agree with Cathy. Don't overdo it, and find interesting things to look at or do along the way. Pools to play in or swim, rocks to scramble on? There are a few bothies in the Lakes, good to have lunch in on wet days. See if the Lakes NP peoplecan suggest anything? How about a trip along a lake to start the trip - more of an adventure.

    What about getting them some fun/useful gear? What kid doesn't enjoy 'playing' with stoves - under supervision, of course, depending on age. A candle lantern?

    Keep ambitions on distance low. Aim to enjoy being there, so some nice snacks, cooking up something special. You can always go for a potter once the tents are up, much more fun without heavy packs, and it breaks up what might be a long evening.

    Don't forget midge repellent! And enjoy it, special times.

  9. #9
    Jame Whitaker
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    For at any rate the initial few times, select a trek that isn't too long or excessively strenuous ‚?? recall that for children, the climb speaks the truth the experience. Picking a trail that has a few components ‚?? be it a lake, stream, waterfall or something else will keep kids involved and give them an objective to reach. What's more, recall that, it's about the trip not the destination. In the event that your tyke is more inspired by getting down on his or her hands and knees to investigate the undergrowth, then that is the experience for the day ‚?? there will dependably be a next,,,,

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  10. #10
    Widdler
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    Two great walks weve enjoyed with our 6yr old in preperation for longer and more difficult walks are:

    Castle cragg - circular walk with a stiff climb to the top of the quarry which has unusual slate sculptures, then back round to visit the various caves.

    Rydal round - circular walk with nice views and caves to explore.

    Thing is to make it fun, fun, fun and not to push them too hard. Pick shorther walks and then have more breaks. Get them involved in the planning, packing and everything you can.

    use google earth and the TV or PC so they can see the area before they go.

    we also have treasure lists of things to find along the way.

  11. #11
    Hello everyone, was interesting to read your article. Usually i'm reading New York Times , but now i will read you too!

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