Hiking with kids…20 tips to combat whining

15 Aug

No matter who you are, or where you go, chances are you are if you hike with your kids, you’re going to encounter whining.  I’m no talking about the little complaints.  I mean the ‘oh my goodness if you do not be quiet right now  I swear I will leave you on this trail for the bears because you are making my head want to explode’  kind of whining.  We hike a lot with our kids.  I think that makes us experts…on whiny kids that is.  Yep, our kids are really really good at whining on the trail.  Out of necessity, we’ve gotten really good at getting them to stop!  Here are some of our top tips for getting your kids to stop whining.  Most of them involve some sort of distraction, cuz’ let’s face it, mostly the kids are just whining because they can’t think of anything better to do .

  1. Collect leaves (much easier than rocks!)
  2. Play I spy
  3. Sing a song
  4. Throw things in the water – rocks sticks, etc
  5. Tell a story (retell a whole Disney movie if you can’t think of one, they’re easy and LONG)
  6. Dance down the trail
  7. Have races
  8. When we get to the top of this hill, everyone gets a __________ (whatever you can find in your pack)
  9. Play a game of hide-n-seek
  10. Have the kids run ahead and hide to scare other people
  11. Guess what you will see next
  12. See who can hike best with a hiking stick
  13. Mix it up by only walking on logs and rocks
  14. Give your kid a stick to hit things with as they pass (like trees, not sisters)
  15. Play tag
  16. Everyone walk like a __(any silly animal)__until the next turn
  17. Bust out some bubbles (some advance planning required but well worth it)
  18. Stop and catch some bugs (check under big rocks)
  19. Try and ‘chase’ a bird down the trail
  20. Hold hands and make a train, complete with sounds
What do you do to distract your kids when hiking?  We’d love to hear your ideas!

Posted by on August 15, 2011 in Backpacking, Hiking, How to, Ideas, Tips


3 responses to “Hiking with kids…20 tips to combat whining

  1. Family Wilds

    September 26, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    Great tips! Hiking with kids is so much fun. We write a lot about taking our little one on the trails, and it really has changed the way we think about nature. It’s a beautiful change. Seeing our daughter actively engaged in fun and learning out on the trails is amazing. The tips are great, because many of them help facilitate both fun and learning!

  2. WalkSimply

    September 28, 2011 at 1:26 am

    Wonderful list. I have two kids ages 7 and 4 and I can always use new suggestions. A game we have played is “Would you rather…” such as would you rather climb a mountain or raft a river. The kids love to use their imaginations think big. Keep up the good work.

  3. Family Wilds

    September 28, 2011 at 1:35 am

    That’s a great idea, Traci! We need to start trying that out with our little one. I think she would respond well to it.


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