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kids hiking 2You have a desire for your kids to grow up appreciating the great outdoors – after all study after study shows us how beneficial it is for kids to spend time outside. For example children who play outside are more physically active, more creative in their play, less aggressive and show better concentration (National Wildlife Federation).

So where do you start? No better place than exploring the forests right here in our town!

With a little knowledge and preparation on your part, you will create a fun adventure for everyone – especially your child!

Hiking with your kids should be fun and attainable for them. There is nothing worse than having your kids not be able to go the distance – meaning you’re carrying them on the trail! Check with the DuPont, Gorges or Pisgah Ranger Station and get their suggestions. You may also have done some hikes around Pisgah or DuPont in the past and know of a trail that fits your child’s ability. Try something with an ‘attraction’ somewhere along the path – hiking along a creek, a waterfall, swing bridge – something that keeps their attention and can be motivating. Some of our family favorites are Moore Cove Falls and Andy Cove in Pisgah National Forest.

Depending on the age of your child you can plan on lots of stopping, observing and most likely a little slower pace. Take the opportunity to show them something new and different – the texture of the tree bark, unique and different flowers, the sound of different birds – engage all of their senses.

As with any hike you go on make sure you have the essentials for a Day Hike. Below are our recommendations – maybe you have other essential items, but these are necessary for our area.

  • First Aid Kit
  • Rain Jacket
  • Extra Layers of clothing
  • Hydration
  • Plenty of snacks and high energy food
  • Compass and Map
  • Sun Protection
  • Headlamp or small Flashlight
  • Waterproof matches
  • Appropriate and sturdy footwear – although it may seem expensive, investing in a solid pair of shoes like Keen or Merrell will make a huge difference in your kids experience. They are designed for getting wet and soles that are designed to give them the best traction.

 

If you’re hiking with a small child be sure to pack in (and pack out!) all the diapering needs. Extra wipes are always a great idea.

Here are some additional items you may want to consider for your kids, depending on their age and ability:pocket kite

Binoculars – an inexpensive pair like the ones we carry in the store are perfect. Gives them the ability to see far off, but not a big financial commitment should they get lost or go swimming in the creek.

Toy Compass – again an inexpensive compass gives them the sense of exploring and learning to use a compass without spending a lot of money.

Bandana – perfect for filtering water, use as a washcloth and so many more uses.

Pocket Kite – depending on where you hike, you may want to have a destination toy. The small Pocket Kite available in the store is perfect for Max Patch or Black Balsam; areas with wide open fields and beautiful vistas.

fandexFandex – Fandex is exactly what is sounds like – part fan part index. It’s a full color picture guide to different Trees and Bugs in the area. Your littler hiker may have lots of questions and now you can help them find the answer!

Map – The waterproof and rip proof maps available at D.D. Bullwinkel’s are perfect for the young explorer – indestructible! The variety of maps we carry cover the areas of South Pisgah Ranger, Upstate South Carolina, DuPont and Grandfather Mountain area.

 

If they see you enjoying and respecting the Great Outdoors they will have a greater appreciation and respect for the nature around them – and enjoy being outside! Come see us at D.D. Bullwinkel’s or Moose Tracks Footwear to get gear ready and to answer any of your questions. And then get ready to have FUN in the Great Outdoors!