Ways to keep kids from complaining while hiking
Do your kids complain a lot while hiking? Ours do. Constantly.
Although the hike might be the same distance as walking to their friend’s house, the complaining is incessant. We still make them go, though!
However, we have tried to come up with a few activities to occupy them to keep the complaining quotient down.
1. Don’t call it a hike. The word hike sends out connotations of long, boring, hot and not fun. Call it an adventure, an expedition, an exploration, or say you’re going to check something out!
2. Sing. Remember those crazy camp songs you used to sing that go on forever? Try one of those to make the time pass.
99 bottles of “beer” on the wall
The Ants go marching 2 by 2
Down by the Bay
Google them if you don’t know them. They can be a lot of fun!
3. Play I Spy. Make a mental list of a couple of items such as a pinecone, a squirrel and a funny-shaped tree. Whoever finds something on the list can replace it with an object of their choosing.
4. Find the colours. Before heading out on your “expedition” head to a paint store and pick up some colour swatches.
Give each child a swatch to carry. When they see something that colour, younger children can check it off, while older children can write the name of that object in the colour block.
5. Colour Search and Find. Using your great artistic skills, draw a picture. My skills are limited to a snail, flower or a rainbow.
Divide the picture into blocks.
When the child finds one of the items, colour in that part of the picture.
6. 5 senses. Use your 5 senses on the walk. When you return (or as you go along) fill in the chart about things you touched, smelled, heard, saw and even tasted!
7. Adjective Scavenger Hunt. Make up a chart that lists various adjectives (hard, soft, blue, spikey, fluffy, rough). Kids need to find something that matches each of the adjectives while on the walk.
8. Alphabet hunt. Give each child a piece of paper with a letter on the top of the page. Usually, they like the first letter of their name. See how many things they can find that start with that letter. Or, perhaps find something that starts with every letter of the alphabet.
9. Nature bracelets. Loosely wrap a wide piece of tape around your child’s wrist with the sticky side out. As you walk, collect things to stick to the bracelet. We try to encourage kids NOT to pick anything, but see what’s already on the ground.
10. Paper Plate Hunt. On a paper plate, write the alphabet around the perimeter.
Make a slit in the plate between each letter. When you find something that starts with that letter, simply bend it backwards, out of site. Or, you can do the next level up for older children where they write down what they find what starts with each letter.
11. Bingo. Create a Bingo sheet for each child. I used the same items on each sheet, but put them in different spaces.
On your walk, check off what you find and see who can call Bingo first!
12. Bring guide books. Have kids stop and identify plants or birds.
13. Go all seasons. Take the same walk in many seasons. Record what and how things change during the year.
For more tips about hiking with kids, read a column that I wrote in the Advertiser.
And, if your kids insist on complaining, we started giving coupons for 3 free complaints. Once those cards are used up, there is a mutually agreed upon consequence – could be anything from reduced screen time, a fine of 25cents or extra chores!
But hopefully, with some of these tips, you can have an enjoyable hiking experience with your family!