Karishma is extremely passionate about writing, reading, traveling and caring for others. She works as a Public Health Nurse, while also fulfilling her passion of influencing others to take the leap and explore the world with their kids. Her love for writing kept building for decades and it finally drove her to start the family travel blog, Lifewith2cubs. Karishma is a wife and mom to two very busy girls (ages 3 and 2), as well as her furry baby—an Alaskan Husky, Shadow. She and her family live in Port Elgin, Ontario, and the two things she enjoys doing the most with her family are traveling and hiking.
Living in Canada, our winters are relatively cold, and our summers are excruciatingly hot.
But no matter what season we’re in, or what time of day it is, the one activity that has been our family’s favorite is hiking. I strongly believe that hiking has taught our girls some remarkable things that they may have not necessarily learned otherwise.
And today, I’m sharing the 6 best benefits of hiking with kids and the things your little ones can (and will!) learn from the great outdoors.
Hiking with kids is not always easy, but with the right gear, right attitude and a bit of fun, it is an activity that your family can easily grow to love.
About Our Family’s Love of Travel
My name is Karishma, and my family includes Rohan (my husband), Myrra (our 3-year-old) and Amarra (our 2-year-old).
When Rohan and I had Myrra in September 2017, we were mentally ready to give up our travel dreams, outdoor activities and active lifestyle.
People often told us that having children would change everything, and we would be stuck indoors most of the time. Well, let me tell you, this was far from the truth…
We actually started our international travels when Myrra was a mere 3 months old, and I can now proudly say that we have traveled more and farther away from home since we had our two girls.
And recently, we’ve discovered how much we love hiking as a family together.
Our family first started hiking when the lockdown started during COVID-19. I quickly found myself in desperate need of finding some outdoor activities that we could indulge in safely with the girls, while following lockdown protocols.
I love the undivided time we get to spend with each other, and I have enjoyed watching our girls during our hikes (and our travels!) and recognizing their strengths and weaknesses.
6 Benefits of Hiking with Kids
After researching activities, we came across nearby hiking trails and have been hiking ever since!
If I start talking about how much our girls have learned from it, you’d be sitting here all day. To sum it up, here’s a list of 6 things that made a real impact on them and what they learn each day during our hikes.
1. Being accountable
Hiking can get quite tiring for kids. What keeps them going is having lots of snacks and water for their walks.
We started filling a backpack with everything they needed, and each of them was responsible for carrying their own bag.
The sense of accountability they established from such a small gesture has been beyond miraculous. They carry their bags with pride and dig into it as needed.
Encouraging them to carry their own things was not only our way of reducing what we were hauling around, but also seeing the sense of responsibility it gave them was a total game-changer.
2. Goals and accomplishments
Setting goals during our hikes and marking where we want to reach truly pushes the girls to get to that finish line.
It drives them to achieve a bit more every single time and gives them such a grand feeling of accomplishment when they do.
They cannot stop talking about it all day and bragging about how “we did it!” It gives them a great feeling of triumph and success.
3. Learning the flora and fauna
When we just started hiking with the girls, they often saw diverse flora and fauna on the trails and asked us what things were.
We would look at each other stumped, not sure how to respond because we had no idea ourselves! We had to google before giving them an answer.
Over the past year, all four of us have learned so much about the flora and fauna we see on our trails. It has been such a fantastic opportunity for us to learn together as a family.
4. Appreciating nature
Hiking has given us such an additional sense of appreciating nature. If we come across garbage on the trails, we make it a point to pick it up and throw it in the designated garbage cans.
This came with some resistance at the start, but now they are more than happy to clean up the mess.
Our intention is to teach them not to leave a trace so future generations can enjoy their walks the same way we do.
5. Mental and physical health
Sure, they are kids and active most of the time, but hiking has benefited more than just their physical health.
Being aware of their surroundings, taking in the fresh air, spending time amongst nature and appreciating the small things have been such a boost to their mental health, too.
It encourages them to constantly ask questions, think of things that sometimes we may not think of and process the information they learn by quietly watching and absorbing their surroundings.
And it is always a bonus when they come home tired and hungry, ready for a big meal and a good night’s sleep.
6. It brings out their curiosity
While our girls still do not go to school, I strongly believe that these experiences are some of the best they have had and something they may never learn within the four walls of a classroom or daycare.
Being outdoors and showing them things we read about has created a sense of anticipation and further nudged their curiosity.
One of the best parts about hiking with our girls is that in the past year, we have learned to recognize their learning styles. They each have their strengths and weaknesses, and we try to elevate their strengths and teach them based on their own unique style of learning.
It has given us an idea of how we will be tackling school with them and the appropriate and individualized way of teaching each of them.
The girls have amazed us with their curiosity, and we have fed into their need to know and learn more.
Our Next Hiking Adventure
This summer, now that Amarra is a very busy toddler, we have some challenging hikes planned with them. The Lions Head lookout is known for its magnificent views and reminds one of the Amalfi Coast in Italy.
This is one of the prettiest hikes in our area, but it also comes with lots of challenges. There is an uphill climb of around 3.5 kilometers (~2.1 miles) on rough terrain and broken ground. But I think we are ready to take on this challenge and hike to the lookout this summer.
Lions Head Lookout in Ontario
Hiking is all about having fun as a family. The bond we have formed in the past year has been one I cannot describe in words. We never fall short of conversations during our walks and the girls never seize to surprise us with their patience, resilience and flexibility to adapt to their surroundings.
Whether you’re planning a national park trip or just going to a local or state park, hiking is a fantastic way to keep their little minds busy while challenging them mentally and physically every step of the way.
The icing on the cake is that it is a free activity that can be enjoyed all year round. You can pick the right hike and level of intensity to cater to all members of your family and work your way up to the more challenging ones.
There are truly so many benefits of hiking with kids, and we are so glad to have gotten to love this activity that will be part of our outdoor adventures for years to come.
Our guest bloggers are compensated for their writing contributions and honest opinions.
All information is subject to change. This article is a curated guide and is neither sponsored nor considered an official endorsement. Please be sure to check information directly with any/all tours, guides or companies for the most up-to-date and direct details.
You May Also Like
Things to Do
Hiking with Kids: 10 Easy Tips
Posted September 23, 2020
6 Tips for Your Next State Park Trip
Posted August 28, 2020
National Parks: How to Start a New Family Travel Tradition
Posted December 29, 2020
National Take a Hike Day: 9 Member-Favorite Hiking Trails
Posted November 16, 2020
National Park Trips: Best Family-Friendly Tips by Park
Posted September 7, 2020
5 Best Winter Sports for Families (Besides Skiing)
Posted February 17, 2021