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 map, atlas or a printout you make from an online map service. Older elementary school children can answer more complex questions, such as “How many miles are we from (our destination)?” or “What is the name of that mountain range?” Familiarize yourself with the map beforehand, though, so that you know when you’re getting bad directions!
Ages: 8 and up
Read more about day hiking with children in my guidebook Hikes with Tykes