This week I have been so busy trying to get up all the giveaways I have scheduled before Walking in a Toddler Wonderland starts on Monday, (Don’t forget to grab our button for extra entries before the 15th.) dealing with a sick toddler, and being sick myself, and getting ready for SITS Bloggy Boot Camp in St. George Utah, that I didn’t have a spare moment to write a post for Green so Easy even a Toddler can do It! Thankfully, Abbie from Greening Sam and Avery had already written a post that I was going to use for when my husband returned home, and she graciously allowed me to post it tonight instead. Thank you Abbie for helping me out!!
Hello Family and Life in Las Vegas Readers! This is actually my second guest post here (I was a part of the amazing Mommy Monster Bash) and I am so excited to be back as a part of this new project that Emily is tackling with her little man. It is not easy to green babies and toddlers but it SO important to start getting your kids outside and appreciating nature as early as possible. If things like hiking, camping, fishing or just exploring the small treasures in nature were not natural to you before kids it may seem like an impossible task when you have to include a baby. But it IS possible and can be so rewarding for everyone!
Here are a few tips, tricks and suggestions that might make getting out on the trail a bit easier for parents of very small children:
1. Start small. The trails and parks that might be exciting for us as parents (national parks, major scenic overlooks, mountain trails, river trails, etc.) are not the place to start with young kids. Those trails can be longer, steeper, skinner and/or more crowded. Instead of hitting up the national park near you check out a county park or state park. These can be found easily online through your states natural resources or recreation department. These parks will be smaller with easier trails and are probably less crowded than the bigger parks. But don’t think that just because they are small they won’t have amazing things to offer. These parks can have some great hidden treasures, trails and scenery to find.
2. Its not about the destination, the journey is what is important. When you head out on an adventure keep in mind that you might not make it to your original end goal. The best part of the hike might be a rest that you take, sitting on a bench or rock, where you find a frog, see a bug or hear a bird. These little experiences are what will inspire your child to want more, not necessarily the great view at the end point of the hike. But even if you have to end a hike early the time that you spent outside, trying something new is the important part, the first step. And the next time you try it will be that much easier.
3. Patience is key. Kids walk at their own pace and (at least for mine!) the young ones cannot be rushed! You just have to learn to slow yourself down and enjoy their pace. Give yourself the time to look at all the plants around you, notice the little things you might have missed and see what your child is seeing.
4. Get a backpack kid carrier. If you have a baby or very small child and want to get on the hiking trail consider buying a backpack. We have a Chicco baby carrier backpack that was handed down to us years ago from my older sister. We love this one but there are certainly other kinds out there that are great. Check out these companies for some options Lafuma USA, or Mountainsmith. But your local outdoor gear store will probably have options as well.
These backpacks are AWESOME in allowing parents to take very small children out on longer hikes. We started our daughter in hers at just a few months old. She is happy in her pack for hours and she can nap in it! This has been a huge help for us because then we can focus on helping out our 2.5 year old on the trail and not have to worry so much about the baby because we know she will be okay in her pack.
5. Snacks are essential. It is amazing how quickly kids can burn calories and get hungry while they are being active. Healthy snacks like granola, pretzels or dried fruit can be great on the trail and can keep even the crabbiest of kids happy and moving for longer than you might expect.
6. Give your child their own water bottle. If they are old enough to walk on their own and hold a water bottle they are old enough to carry the water bottle. This gives them a little bit of responsibility on the trail and (most importantly) helps you keep track of how much water they are drinking. If you are out for a longer hike or hiking while you are camping it is very important to keep them hydrated!
7. When necessary create a handrail. If you have slightly older kids and are tackling a more difficult area on the trail there is an easy way to create a handrail for your child. Simply grab a nearby stick that is long and have each parent take an end. The child should walk between the two parents holding on to the stick.
8. Play games on the trail. I created a “hiding rabbit” game to do in our yard and we quickly realized how perfect it would be out on the trail. Basically one parent would keep our daughter occupied at a break spot while the other would head down the trail a ways hiding paper rabbit cutouts in the brush along the sides of the trail. When the break is over and we head back out she has a fun new thing to look for and keep her motivated along the trail. This does require extra walking and effort on the parent’s part but if you are trying to do a longer hike this might be a good way to end the hike if the child is really worn out.
A game my 2.5 year old made up is called “passed ya”. She will play this every time we are out for a walk or bike ride. Super simple. She falls behind on the trial or sidewalk and then runs or speedily walks to pass us and yells “passed ya!”. We then repeat the action and pass her. She thinks it is hilarious and could play this forever. We sing songs, play I spy, work on colors, counting and identifying things along the trail. Let your kids be creative, silly and have fun on the trail and you will be amazed at how far they will go.
So that is what I have learned at this point, both from experience and research. I got a few of these ideas from a great book that I found “Kids in the Wild: A Family Guide to Outdoor Recreation” by Cindy Ross and Todd Gladfelter. But even the ideas I didn’t come up with we have tested and know that they are solid pieces of advice! With a 2.5 year old and a nine month old we are constantly learning, growing and improving our outdoor adventuring skills. I hope you have found some inspiration with these tips and are ready to hit the trail! If you need more inspiration or help with how to get outside just head over to Greening Sam and Avery.
Latest posts by Emily (Posts)
- Don’t Call It A Comeback - February 7, 2019
- The Little Prince at The Smith Center Las Vegas – Ticket Giveaway - January 31, 2017
- 3 Simple Ways To Add Color To Your Diet @SUBWAY @OfficialSubway - January 13, 2017
- Disney’s Moana in Dolby Cinema at AMC Movie Review - November 27, 2016