Rob Bignell's Blog (22)

Activity for drive to trailhead: Your New Chief Navigator

Even if you’ve got your children excited about going on a day hike, you have to get them to the trailhead, probably in a motor vehicle. Sometimes those drives to a national forest, nature preserve, or state park can be long. You can keep kids’ spirits up by playing games or doing activities on the drive there. One such activity is having kids learn how to read maps by navigating for you.

They can provide instructions about when and which way to turn, for example, by reading a road…

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Added by Rob Bignell on May 30, 2012 at 9:47am — No Comments

Hiking games and activities for kids: Whichever Way the Wind Blows

Generally, exploring and discovery is enough for kids, but sometimes even they can grow bored with that and become restless. Remember that they naturally have shorter attention spans than adults.



Fortunately, there are lots of tried and true activities you can do on the trail that’ll keep kids from getting bored. Among them is Whichever Way the Wind Blows.



If there is a slight breeze, have your children identify which way the wind is blowing. Then have them identify…

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Added by Rob Bignell on May 28, 2012 at 6:32pm — No Comments

Hiking games and activities for kids: Hungry, Hungry Ants

Generally, exploring and discovery is enough for kids, but sometimes even they can grow bored with that and become restless. Remember that they naturally have shorter attention spans than adults.





Fortunately, there are lots of tried and true activities you can do on the trail that’ll keep kids from getting bored. Among them is Hungry, Hungry Ants.





Once you spot an ant hill, see if its inhabitants have a trail of workers leading away from their…

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Added by Rob Bignell on May 22, 2012 at 8:02am — No Comments

Getting reluctant kids excited about hike: Coloring pages

Most children will find fun the idea of a hike and explore. Still, kids can be fickle creatures. Their lack of knowledge and experience in the world often makes them cautious about suggested activities. And in today’s video game-oriented, 300-cable channel, Internet-connected world, some kids may be reluctant – or even afraid – to get outside.





You want to sway kids to at least entertain the notion that a hike might be fun. If they hit the trail thinking a long stretch of…

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Added by Rob Bignell on May 21, 2012 at 8:44am — No Comments

Great hiking activity for kids: Indentifying Animals

Generally, exploring and discovery is enough for kids, but sometimes even they can grow bored with that and become restless. Remember that they naturally have shorter attention spans than adults.





Fortunately, there are lots of tried and true activities you can do on the trail that’ll keep kids from getting bored. Among them is "Indentifying Animals.

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Bring a kid-friendly field guide and see how many animals you can identify on the trail. Most of the animals you…

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Added by Rob Bignell on May 18, 2012 at 9:03am — No Comments

Activities/games for hiking kids: When You Hear Train

Generally, exploring and discovery is enough for kids, but sometimes even they can grow bored with that and become restless. Remember that they naturally have shorter attention spans than adults.

Fortunately, there are lots of tried and true activities you can do on the trail that’ll keep kids from getting bored. Among them is “When You Hear Train."

Have children line up single file; then pick a sound, such as a bird singing or a snapped twig. When the person in the lead hears…

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Added by Rob Bignell on March 23, 2012 at 2:20pm — 2 Comments

Day hiking activity for children: Game Show

Generally, exploring and discovery is enough for kids, but sometimes even they can grow bored with that and become restless. Remember that they naturally have shorter attention spans than adults.

 

Fortunately, there are lots of tried and true activities you can do on the trail that’ll keep kids from getting bored. Among them is Game Show.

 

If you…

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Added by Rob Bignell on February 28, 2012 at 2:14pm — 2 Comments

Hiking game with children: Animal Clues

Generally, exploring and discovery is enough for kids, but sometimes even they can grow bored with that and become restless. Remember that they naturally have shorter attention spans than adults.

 

Fortunately, there are lots of tried and true activities you can do on the trail that’ll keep kids from getting bored. One is called Animal Clues.

 …

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Added by Rob Bignell on January 27, 2012 at 11:26am — No Comments

Trail mix recipe for kids: Gorp balls

Have kids help you make homemade trail mix, also known among backpackers as gorp. Here’s how to make a variety of trail mix known as gorp balls (warning: peanuts or a peanut byproduct are ingredients in this recipe).

g Ingredients – 1/3 cup each raisins, apple chips, dried apricots, dates and coconut, 1/2 cup sesame seeds, 1/3 cup walnuts, 2 cups peanuts, 1 cup chocolate chips, 1/3 cup honey, 1/2 cup peanut…

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Added by Rob Bignell on January 12, 2012 at 6:37pm — No Comments

Select right sunglasses for hiking kids

Sunglasses are an absolute must at high altitudes if walking through open areas exposed to the sun and during winter when children can suffer from snow blindness. Look for 100% UV-protective shades, which provide the best screen.

The variety of sunglasses available out there are enormous, but when children are involved, always opt for something sturdy. You can buy sunglasses with no hinges, which means toddlers have one less avenue for breaking them. You even can buy symmetrical…

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Added by Rob Bignell on January 11, 2012 at 2:09pm — No Comments

Leave behind an emergency information sheet when day hiking with kids

Leave an emergency information sheet for each person going on the hike. Information on it should include medical conditions, insurance numbers, allergies, blood type, and emergency contact information. If you or one of the children should be injured, this is information that emergency responders, rescuers and medical personnel can use.



You might also leave a hiker’s safety form on the dashboard of your vehicle. When rangers pass your vehicle and see it, they’ll be able to read it…

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Added by Rob Bignell on January 4, 2012 at 10:55am — No Comments

How to deal with sibling rivalries on the trail

Sibling rivalries generally arise out of competition and jealousy of one another, usually because one child is perceived as getting more attention or a favored status. In the wilds, there can’t be anything more than a friendly rivalry. Getting along helps make the experience more pleasant for all, and should an emergency arise, it may be vital for your survival.

While you may not be able to stop the bickering, you certainly can minimize it on the trail. You can begin by trying to…

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Added by Rob Bignell on January 3, 2012 at 12:12pm — No Comments

Hiking activity with kids: Scavenger hunt

Exploring and discovery comes naturally enough for kids, but sometimes even they can grow bored and become restless. Remember that they have shorter attention spans than adults. Fortunately, there are lots of tried and true activities you can do on the trail that'll keep kids from getting bored. The scavenger hunt is one such activity.

Look for items either using adjectives (find something circular, fuzzy, rough, black, etc.) or make cards in advance.



Kids can create their…

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Added by Rob Bignell on December 15, 2011 at 9:00am — No Comments

Trail Mix Recipe: Kiddie Mix Gorp

Have kids help you make homemade trail mix, also known among backpackers as gorp. Here's how to make a kiddie mix variety of gorp. You'll need 4 cups of Chex cereal, 1/2 cup of dried fruit bits (apple chips, banana chips, or dried cranberries), 1/2 cup raisins, 1/2 cup salted peanuts, and 1/2 cup M & Ms. Mix it in a large bowl or pour into a gallon-size re-sealable zipper bag and shake.

Read more about day hiking with children in my guidebook…

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Added by Rob Bignell on December 13, 2011 at 10:31am — No Comments

Keep your child comfortable on a hike by layering clothes

On all but the hot, dry days, you and your children should wear multiple layers of clothing that provide various levels of protection against sweat, heat loss, wind and potentially rain. Layering works because the type of clothing you select for each stratum serves a different function, such as wicking moisture or shielding against wind. In addition, trapped air between each layer of clothing is warmed by the child’s body heat. Layers also can be added or taken off as…

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Added by Rob Bignell on December 9, 2011 at 9:00am — No Comments

After the hike activity with kids: High point, low point

Ask your kids what were the highlights and the boring parts or disappointments during the hike. You may be surprised by what they say. It’ll also help you make the next hike even better.

Such activities make a memorable end to a day hike. To keep kid’s enthusiasm charged, “review” the hike in kid-friendly ways. While you really can’t do this with infants, most toddlers and older kids will enjoy it.

Read more about day hiking with children in my guidebook…

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Added by Rob Bignell on December 8, 2011 at 9:09am — No Comments

Another good reason for kids to hike: Develop character and skills

On the trail, children can learn patience, goal setting, self-sufficiency and self-confidence, all while increasing their attention spans, so challenged these days by fast-moving, action-packed television programs and video games. The physical challenge of the journey and of reaching a summit or an incredible destination generates a supreme sense of achievement in adult and child alike.

Hiking encourages creative, imaginative play. The television set and today's video games…

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Added by Rob Bignell on December 7, 2011 at 8:03am — No Comments

Trail activity with kids: Tape collection

Give each child a piece of duct tape tacked to a piece of cardboard with the sticky side exposed to the elements. When the kids see something interesting, let them stick it to the duct tape. It keeps kids looking for stuff to put on the tape and makes for a good conversation starter later. Having said this, beware that one of the rules of the trail is to leave things as they are. Still, I can’t see any harm in pulling up a single blade of grass or picking an acorn off the trail if the end…

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Added by Rob Bignell on December 2, 2011 at 9:04am — 3 Comments

Trail activity for kids: Rainbows

Using the colors of the rainbow, have children identify something they see along the trail that is a specific color; works best for young elementary-age kids. Materials: None needed. Ages 3-9.

Read about other day hiking activities with children in my guidebook Hikes with Tykes.

Added by Rob Bignell on November 30, 2011 at 8:57am — No Comments

Best maps to bring on day hike with children

What kind of map should you carry on a day hike with children?

For me, the answer always is more than one type.

I like road maps to show me how to get to the trailhead and printed guides to give me an overview of the trail's key points. I like a satellite pic to show me where to park and how to reach the trailhead, as they are not always easy to visually locate. I use topo maps to show me the trail and landmarks on the horizon I can see to help orient myself. With a yellow…

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Added by Rob Bignell on November 23, 2011 at 4:34pm — No Comments

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