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By: Clair Cook, author of
Posted on: Nov 16, 2021

Outdoor Trails with the Kids: Enjoying the Fall Weather

I have always been all about getting outside. Then I discovered my love for walking and running on the trails. There is nothing like being on the trails. Now, here I am enjoying the trails with kids. the trails and enjoying them with kids.

Being on the trails is more than freeing. The wilderness surrounding you, the fresh air, and nothing to worry about. This is how I always saw being on the trails. I believe this is the reason for my love of cross country running. I knew my kids would love them just as much as me. I was right.

If you head out to the trails with kids, keep an open mind and lots of snacks!

Prepare, prepare, prepare.

Preparing for the trip on the trails with kids is not a lot of work. Make sure everyone is wearing good shoes. These must be shoes that are great for walking. The worst thing is to be hiking around on the trails and your kids start complaining about their feet hurting.

Water and snacks also need to be packed. No matter what time of year you are going walking on the trails, you are going to need to stay hydrated. Make sure to pack enough water for everyone in the family. Snacks? These need to be protein-packed or ones that are not full of a lot of sugar. All the sugar will only give way to a quick energy rush leading to a crash. Not fun to have with kids on the trails.

What snack do I recommend? A great trail mix of course!

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A trail mix recipe perfect for the trails.

I love making trail mix with the family. It is not only easy, but it is a recipe that can truly include everyone. You can have each child pour in their own ingredient into a large bowl. Then mix it all up and place into plastic storage container for on-the-go.

Here are the ingredients we like to use for an energy boosting on-the-go trail mix. Now this recipe does contain nuts. If you have anyone in your family with nut allergies, then you are going to want to use and alternative ingredient.

1 cup of raw almonds

1 cup of cashews, lightly salted

3 cups of honey nut cheerios

1 cup raisins

1 cup of plain M&M candies

Mix all of these ingredients and enjoy on-the-go! Pack individual containers for everyone in the family. This will make it even more special for the kids.

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Know that trail.

This is important. You must know the trail before going to the trail with your kids. Scope it all out and note any areas that may be an issue for kids. Some trails may have areas that have been marked off not passable due to damage to the trail or bad weather that has made the trails not safe.

My kids love to run a head at times, and I would need to know how safe the trails are for us before heading out on them.

Make it a scavenger hunt.

I am all about finding ways to entertain the kids without the use of screentime. Scavenger hunts always pop up on this list. Whenever I mention the words ‘scavenger hunt’, my kids automatically answer “YES!” What better way to enjoy a scavenger hunt than while walking around outdoors on a trail?

There are so many opportunities to include nature in the scavenger hunt. If you check out the trails beforehand, you will be able to preplan the scavenger hunt. No worries if things are not the same from when you last visited the trails. Nature has a fun way of adding things to the scenery at any given time.

You may even want to include wildlife, like a bird or a beautiful butterfly.

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Souvenir artwork.

I know some of you are probably wondering what I mean by souvenir artwork. It is exactly that. Artwork that you create from souvenirs you have collected. My kids, specifically my youngest, loves to collect souvenirs wherever we go. This can be anything from rocks to tiny purple flowers. Leaves are also something she loves to fold up into her pockets.

Did you know that you can create fun artwork with the nature souvenirs? You sure can! Have your kids collect different items around the trail that they want to use in their artwork project once you all return home. From there, they can glue their finds onto construction paper or even plain white printer paper. I must note that you will need a hot glue gun for any item that is heavier than a leaf.

Basic school glue will not make the cut for gluing down rocks. Believe me, we have tried that and failed.

Let them choose the path.

One of the best things to do while on the trails is to let the kids feel like they are the guide from time to time. This of course can only work if you know the trails beforehand and know that they are safe for the entire family. Allowing your kids the chance to ‘be in charge’ changes the dynamics of the entire walk.

I love to see the look on their faces when they feel like they have ownership of something. My oldest gets like this anytime we let her fix us breakfast. Kids thrive off the ability to have leadership. Give them the ability to prove themselves with little tasks like this. Plus, this makes it even more fun for the entire family because it will make the walk more interesting and exciting not knowing which direction will be next.

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Enjoying the trails with kids and making those memories.

Take advantage of these times enjoying the trails with kids. This is a wonderful way to make memories and bond as a family. There is nothing like being outdoors and walking the trails is a great way to enjoy it all. I will say our most fun trail walking was in Branson, Missouri earlier this summer. We made so many memories and the kids have yet to stop talking about it all. Have you ever taken the kids on walk on trails?