We aren’t extreme hikers, but we do a lot of trekking around our property. (We live on 50 acres so there is a lot of room to roam.) We love to take our son exploring and try to point out any wildlife that we see. So far, just in our backyard, he has been introduced to:
- a turtle
- a snake
- ducks (teal and mallards)
- snow geese
- canada geese
- a blue heron
- assorted tweety birds
- a frog
- a toad
I’m sure there are a few I am forgetting, but you get the picture. We also watch for signs of wildlife and he loves to wave at the trail cameras.
We typically head out with our son in a hiking pack or baby carrier. He is now at an age where he understands “do you want to go for a walk?” and gets super excited when he sees me putting on the carrier. He loves our adventures. We have attempted to let him walk some on his own, but at this age once we put him down he doesn’t want to be picked back up. He loves rocks. He always seems to be on a mission to find the best rock. It’s so fun to watch him explore.
There are so many reasons to take your child hiking. It’s the perfect thing to do before a nap or bedtime. I swear, our son gets a lot better sleep after getting some fresh air. Wearing your child while hiking also gives a little extra oomph to your workout. In addition, according to Naturalearning.org, it “Supports multiple development domains. Nature is important to children’s development in every major way—intellectually, emotionally, socially, spiritually and physically (Kellert, 2005).” In today’s technology driven world, it’s a great way to get your child away from a screen-no matter what the age!
We recently went hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park. It was great to be able to experience the beauty of RMNP with our son and introduce him to more wildlife…including elk! We started hiking with our son when he was a baby, so he’s usually pretty comfortable with spending some time on mom or dad’s (usually dad’s) back.
I have one tip for hiking with a toddler in a backpack…
Use a small mirror on a string or clamp to allow you to see your child if you are hiking alone
We have a backpack that was gifted to us from friends and LOVE it. They already had the mirror attached and we have found it comes in very handy. It’s also often a great way to pacify our son when he gets a little edgy on our excursions.
What’s your favorite place to hike with your child?