Tips and Essentials for Hiking with Toddlers

In the past six weeks since the Covid-19 Quarantine started, the number one thing I get asked about on Instagram is hiking with kids. I get dm's asking where we go and general questions about what to bring and how I get my kiddos interested. We've always liked to get outside as a family but since the coronavirus, the kids and I go almost everyday! It's funny because when I first met my husband, I was pretty sure that I wasn't a hiker - he was all around outdoorsy. I loved nature but did not love camping (still don't) and thought of hiking as like climbing Mount Washington in less than cute boots and pooping in a hole without toilet paper. Turns out, hiking is pretty much just walking in the woods, and that I could get down with.


I thought I'd make a little blog post with some tips that we've learned either from experience or from the amazing educators at Judah's nature preschool. He's the real pro in our family, he's used to daily hikes with his classmates. He can identify scat, plants and every bird we see along the way!

I am not going to list our favorite spots here because they are trying to keep the trails from getting too crowded. But I am happy to answer those questions on Instagram.

Start small. Find a spot that's not too elevated with shorter trails.

Be enthusiastic. Your kids will be excited if you're excited. We're all watching and looking at a lot of screens right now, and it may be hard to get your kids to switch gears but if they see you are excited, they will be too. It doesn't hurt to make a simple scavenger hunt or bring a field guide or bird book to pique their interest.

Be prepared. Spring is muddy and I've found that rain boots are the best. Don't forget bug spray, sunscreen, water, napkins and anything else you think your kids might need. I have a great little backpack that fits all of our necessities.

Don't expect to enjoy any peacefulness. Or see too many birds or wildlife. Cause your toddlers will babble and blather and search for their echoes the whole time! And when you try to explain that nature is best enjoyed quietly so you can hear the sounds of wildlife and the breeze through the leaves of a tree, they will get louder. Just go with it, it will help tire them out for bedtime!

Do make sure that your phone is charged. You'll want take photos. And the Maps app will come in handy if you take a path that you're uncertain of. I learned this lesson the hard way, but thankfully got us back to our car.

Have a seat! You don't have to walk the whole time. We've been having fun finding a good spot to hang out. If there's a stream, kids love to play at the edge. We found a clearing that we call the Forest Room and my kids pretend its a house and play family. We also like to make fairy houses and villages!

Have fun. Don't look at the news. Take deep breaths of that fresh air and try not to think about Covid-19 . Easier said than done, I know.

And below is a list of some of my must haves for hiking:

Hiking Essentials 

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