Walking is the most popular outdoor activity in the UK as a survey shows that a majority of adults in the country prefer to walk recreationally than do other activities such as swimming or cycling. Some families even take their children to go hiking in the countryside, but not too many children participate in this activity as the poll shows that more people aged 25 to 55 walk recreationally than those in other age groups.
With a new survey revealing that children are exercising less as they get older, it is important to encourage kids to participate in some form of physical activity to improve physical and mental health. This is why hiking with your kids should be on your to-do list for the weekend as being out in nature can do much for their overall well-being. Before you go on your hike, it’s a good idea to make a checklist of the things that you need for the day. Here’s what you need to take on your hike.
A first aid kit
You may not be camping in the woods, but it’s always best to be prepared whenever you’re going outdoors. You can buy a pre-packaged first aid kit, but it’s likely that it will have a few things missing so it’s advisable to build your own kit a few days before your family hiking trip. For a basic kit, you will need sunscreen, insect repellent, calamine lotion, saline solution, antiseptic wipes, sticky plasters, bandages, adhesive tape, finger bandages, tweezers, and an antihistamine cream to soothe stings and insect bites.
A trekking pole or hiking stick can do more than provide stability when walking on rough terrain. You can use a trekking pole to pitch an instant shelter just in case it rains. It can also be used as a splint in case of emergencies. This hiking accessory also makes your hike safer for you and your children as you can use it to learn more about quicksand and puddles. Your kids can also use the pole to push away thorny plants or spiderwebs during your hike. Plan on taking at least two trekking poles or better yet, have one for each person.
Food and water
Keeping hydrated is important when you’re hiking especially when it’s hot outside. Everyone should take their own bottle of water with them and carry some water purifying tablets just in case. You’ll also need extra food to keep everyone’s energy up. Some of the best foods for hiking include snack mix or trail mix, nuts, tuna salad pouches and crackers, meat jerky, and granola bars.
Extra clothing and rain gear
Each family member should have an extra change of clothes (including underwear and socks) and rain gear in case of sudden downpours. Children and adults should also wear a hat for added sun protection.
A multipurpose tool
You will need a knife or a multipurpose tool to remove splinters, cut fruits, open cans, or to saw down small foliage. Carry the knife or multipurpose tool yourself and never let your children use sharp objects when you’re out on a hike.
Safety is a must when you’re outdoors. Don’t forget to bring a map, compass, GPS, a flashlight, a whistle, matches or a lighter (to start a small bonfire fire just in case) before heading out. It’s also a good idea to bring your mobile phone in case of emergencies.
Going on a hike with your kids may take some planning and organization, but the effort is worth it once you see your children enjoying the great outdoors. Be prepared, stay safe, and most of all, enjoy every minute of your hike with your family.