Young kids need to stay active. They also thrive in new and challenging situations. Why not take them on an overnight camping trip in the mountains?
A few years ago, I took my step-grandson, Anthony, and his friend on a hike in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. I pulled out two old backpacks and drove us up to the Mount Liberty trailhead. They asked me on the ride up if we would see snakes and bears; I told them to stay alert and be watchful.
Late morning, we started the climb up to the Mount Liberty tent site, which is about three-quarters of the way to the summit. At the site, I showed them how to get water and treat it. I handed them their private tent set-up instructions and told them to figure it out. It was a nice afternoon with plenty of time before sunset; they put their heads together and did fine.
I wanted to teach them about the wilds and quickly realized they would put up with some instruction, but not lots. So I took it easy on them. The next morning on the summit, they were wide-eyed as they huddled looking at views. The boys felt like they had accomplished something.
On the way back down, I let each of them navigate and quizzed them about what they would do if they got lost. At trail junctions, I asked them to pull out their maps and show me where they were. I had my watch and showed them how long it took to hike a certain segment–another way to confirm what you are doing, I’d said.
These pictures tell the story. We didn’t see any snakes or bears, but I taught them what camping basics I could in the time we had. They’ve turned into fine young men.
- 10 tips for camping with children for the first time (coolmompicks.com)
- Tent Tips for Happy Camping [Infographic] (androidtravels.com)
- Child, 5, hikes entire Appalachian Trail (wptv.com)
- 15 Tips for Hiking with Kids (jdaniel4smom.com)
- Salem 13-year-old becomes youngest to hike Triple Crown, covering 7,925 miles (missoulian.com)
- ‘Hikes with Tykes’ ebook on sale this weekend! (inventingrealityeditingservice.typepad.com)
- Youngest Thru Hiker (wcyb.com)
Nice blog. Hiking and camping are great experiences for kids. Kids love to be in nature and they will absorb everything you tell them about wildlife, flowers, the mountains, etc. For me it is a part of the education of my kids.
Thank you. I agree; the mind of a child absorbs like a sponge. Happy trails!