Find Your School

Found Near You

Our Blog: July 8, 2024

Hiking with Kids: Packing Essentials

School is out. Summer is in. Let’s take a hike! Encourage kid-friendly exploration in your community or region by taking your family to a few trails. It’s a great outing that blends two worthwhile things: making memories together and discovering educational growth.

Tips for a Good, Kid-Friendly Experience

  • Discuss expectations. Sit your children down and talk through the excitement of the hike, features like dirt trails, streams of water, larger boulders and rocks, potential animals or bugs they might run into, and how long it might take.
  • Select your trail carefully. Consider how far your child handles walking for an extended period. Plan stops to play along the way and factor that into your timing.
  • Encourage adventure. Allow your children time to enjoy being in the great outdoors. Let them explore the trails by walking on the logs, identifying trees, rocks, or leaves, examining new bugs, and playing in the creeks.

Family Hiking Checklist

Hiking requires some mindful preparation to help make it enjoyable for everyone. Grab a comfortable backpack and load it up with essentials before hitting the trail! Water is among the most important, so you can keep everyone hydrated throughout your journey.

Healthy Snacks

  • Nuts (Ex: pistachios, almonds, cashews, or pecans)
  • Fresh fruit (Ex: easy-to-peel oranges, grapes, or blackberries)
  • Cheese sticks
  • Granola bars
  • Turkey or beef sticks
  • Dried fruit (Ex: apricots, mangos, or peaches)


  • Comfortable, waterproof shoes or hiking boots
  • Extra socks (to swap dry for wet)
  • Hat or sunglasses to shield the sun
  • Extra change of clothes (accidents happen, including mud)
  • Cooler Days/Seasons: Jacket, gloves, thermal wear, or hand-warmers

First Aid Supplies

  • Basic kit with antiseptic and bandages
  • Sunscreen and bug spray
  • Allergy cream (for bug bites or rashes)
  • Personal medications or over-the-counter pain relief


  • IDs
  • Charged phone and portable power charger 
  • Physical map of the park or trail
  • GPS device or compass
  • Flashlight

Learning/Exploration Opportunities

  • Binoculars to spot birds and wildlife
  • Sketchbook and crayons to draw observations
  • Nature or plant reference books
  • Scavenger hunt ideas (find the colors of the rainbow)

Extra Considerations

  • Swimsuits, towels, or water shoes (if traveling to a waterhole)
  • Bottles, pacifiers, and diapers (when hiking with a baby)
  • Breathable sandals to relax in post-hike
  • Extra Supplies: Kleenex, lip ointment, toilet paper
  • Added Protection: pepper spray, bear spray, pocketknife, matches

Remember, depending on the time of day, location, and length of your hike, you may not need to carry all these items along the trail. Consider storing them in the car for quick grab options pre- or post-adventure.

It’s also a great idea to make sure a trusted contact knows where you are headed in case you need assistance. Now, that you’re prepared, it’s time to get outside and enjoy the view.