Some very good friends of mine have two amazing boys that I love to spend as much time with as possible. Since I don't have kids myself, I don't get the opportunity to hike or camp with them very often, so I'm looking for tips or things kids love while hiking or camping, particularly ❤️ or 4 yrs old. Anything like games or particular items that I can bring with, fun things to do out in nature (experiments or something), or activities people have have done with their kids, or a group of kids. Thanks!
Small scavenger hunts are always a hit. My boys love watching birds and looking them up in the bird book. The most important thing I've learned is have low expectations of what you want to "accomplish" some days all they will want to do is watch a worm crawl across the path for 30 minutes, and there is nothing wrong with that. Some days my boys need some guidance, others we hike 300 yards and have a great time letting them lead the converstation and trip.
I agree with @tileg21 - keep expectations low, do a scavenger hunt, bring a book with you where they can try to spot the bird/leaf/tree in the book, bring a magnefying glass so you can look at things up close, play a game of tag or marco polo, bring some art supplies and do a drawing of something cool they see? 3 and 4 are pretty young so they're going to tire out/lose interest quickly, so keep the hike short and sweet and go into it with low expectations. Just going out and spending time with them will probably mean the world to them (and give their parents a much needed break)! 🙂
Hi! My husband and I started hiking with our daughter when she was about 6 months old and camping with her after she turned 1. Some ideas that worked for us, and still do (she is 10 now):
- have her finds different colors in leaves
- to find the biggest pine cone or leaf on the trail
- listen for new bird calls and then see if can find it visually
- bring a note pad and draw all the animals you see
- stargazing is always fun at any age
- listen for different birds from day to night, or insects
We have also taken her Navigator Scout group and we do some mini classes, like having kids be in charge of dinner (depending on age, it could be pouring cereal for everyone), talking about fire safety, etc.
If you are near a National Park, look for their junior ranger programs, these are free and very informative.
Good luck and thank you for sharing the love of nature with the little ones!