This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Banana Boat®. The opinions and text, giving you tips for making a hike with kids really fun, are all mine.
Creating a love for nature and the outdoors in your kids requires actually spending time outside with them in all the glorious beauty nature has to offer. But let's face it, a hike with kids isn't always the easiest thing to do, especially when you have younger kids.
We've always loved getting outside with our boys, finding cool hiking trails, kayaking together, going fishing, camping, you name it. There have been times, though, when we've struggled with just walking out the door, especially since having our youngest child.
We have a blast every single time we go, but it just takes us getting through that rough start. It requires us to think through what we need and maybe even find alternative ways to do what we want to do.
Zeke is almost two years old now, and he already enjoys the outdoors just as much as the rest of us, maybe even more so. He loves being in his baby carrier backpack.
If you're struggling with taking that step into the great outdoors, I have a few tips that will make hiking with kids even more fun for everyone.
1. Start with the basics. Wear sunscreen, as well as appropriate clothing and shoes for a hike with kids.
If you're uncomfortable in what you're wearing, you're not going to have any fun. And if you're all getting sunburnt, that's no fun either.
Wear comfortable clothing and shoes; moisture-wicking or breathable clothing is best, and a good pair of hiking boots will carry everyone over miles and miles of beautifully rugged hiking trails.
As for sunscreen… Stop by your local Walmart and try Banana Boat®'s new line, Banana Boat® Simply Protect™ Sport Sunscreen which contains 25% fewer ingredients* in a lightweight formula! You can even take advantage of a $1 off Ibotta rebate offer at Walmart.
We've used Banana Boat® as our sunscreen of choice for years. I'm loving the new Simply Protect™ spray and lotion. I usually choose the spray over the lotion just for convenience, but Zeke has a thing for lotion; he loves it. I love how easily it rubs into his baby soft skin too.
Made without oxybenzone and parabens, it provides broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection. There are no added oils or fragrances. It's water and sweat resistant (an important factor on the trail), it lasts up to 80 minutes. It also stays on in 7 different conditions – sun, pool water, ocean water, wind, sweat, sand, and 100° heat** (another important factor, especially on Arkansas hiking trails). It's also recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation to protect against harmful rays from the sun.
*by number vs. Banana Boat® Sport Lotion Sunscreen SPF 50+.
**7 conditions does not apply to tanning or oil products, SPF 100 lotions, lip balms, Kids FREE and Zinc Faces.
2. Pack snacks and drinks.
Take it from one who knows… Pack loads of snacks and drinks. Even if you think your hike is only going to take an hour or two, trust me when I say that hiking with kids can sometimes take a lot longer than you intend.
Pack plenty of water for an all day hike, even if you're only planning a half day. Pack power snacks; things like trail mix, fruit (bananas are awesome), snack crackers, etc.
3. Play a game as you hike together.
Our boys, especially Jaden, are pretty fond of the game ‘I Spy.' Make the trail fun by playing a game of ‘I Spy' with your kids.
Spy out things like flowers, bugs, certain kinds of trees, landmarks, and more. This not only makes it fun for them; it also teaches them to recognize all sorts of natural things.
4. Speaking of spying things out, watch for wildlife.
Take the necessary small tools along with you for a little watching of the wildlife… Carry along things like binoculars, a small magnifying glass, and maybe a mini nature book or guide.
Jaden loves carrying his binoculars along on just about every big trip we take. We've been so fortunate to see all kinds of wildlife, both when we're driving and when we're out on hiking trails.
You may see deer… But the sky's the limit, depending on where you're at when you're out in the wild. You may see antelope, bear, buffalo, elk, jackrabbits, creepy crawly bugs, prairie dogs, wolves, coyotes, mountain lions, bobcats, beautiful birds, whales, dolphins… There's really no telling what kind of wildlife you'll see when you make the time to explore together.
5. Make time for breaks and activities like splashing in the creek, or better yet, geocaching.
Hiking with kids isn't just about making it down a trail to the destination… It's about the journey to your destination.
Make time to get your littlest one out of the pack and let him splash in the creek. Take a break and just breathe in your surroundings.
Or maybe hunt for treasure together and do a little geocaching. While we didn't find the geocache on our latest hike, the boys still had fun just looking for it.
Looking for more outdoor tips and ideas?
- How to Pack a First Aid Kit for Camping
- Very Large Array in New Mexico with Kids
- Camping Cooking Gear and Outdoor Cooking Tips
- How to Get Started Kayaking with Kids
- Stay Connected with Your Kids Outdoors
While there are practical ways to make a hike with kids fun, there are also fun things you can do along the way to make it even more of an adventure. Your next hike can be the gateway to some pretty amazing memories… Remember to always collect those memories with your kids.
For more summer fun ideas, be sure to follow Banana Boat's Summer Fun Pinterest board!