For National Take a Hike day, I challenge everyone to get out there and just do it. Here's the best part about hiking...it doesn't have to be out in the wilderness with bugs and scary animals. You can take your kids on a hike around the neighborhood or local park. There are plenty of scavenger hunt lists all over the internet, but you can easily make one up by yourself. For little kids, find: birds, leaves, sticks, pine cones, clouds, and any bug you see turns your afternoon stroll into a hike. Finding things for every color of the rainbow is great for any age. Hiking is all about adventure and excitement and, believe me, when kids have a mission to find stuff, they get excited! If you see something really cool--we once saw a roadrunner in a local park--you can go home and do a little research on that creature, tree, leaf etc.
If your kids are older and you are feeling more adventurous, you can find local hikes in your area at www.alltrails.com (there is also an app All Trails). They are identified by degree of difficulty so you can chose what fits your skill level.
I'll be honest, my kids aren't always thrilled to hike, so I keep the trails simple and short with them. Even on a simple hike, we always see something that excites or interests them. And they love the stories they get to tell after the fact. Like the time we urgently asked our oldest to grab hold of the 5 year old so he wouldn't fall into the creek. Yep, she totally spaced and his feet sank into the water. Which led to dad carrying him the rest of the way because his shoes were "squishy". And yes, dad was probably not too happy for that half mile either, but we can all laugh about it now. So, get out there and make some memories, I guarantee you won't regret it!
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