What if you decide to go on a recreational hike?



After a winter, enjoying the delights of the snow, it's not always easy to persuade your children to take up hiking again.Bram, product manager for children's clothes and father, gives you his tips on how to organize a fun hike for adults and children alike!Time for some "fun" hiking!

This kind of hiking is akin to a fun, educational adventure in the middle of the countryside.In short, it's the ideal way to get a bit of fresh air with your family!You should be able to convince even the most reluctant child by explaining that the walk will lead to a waterfall, a lake or a great picnic spot where they'll be able to see certain kinds of animals.And then, while you're walking, you should talk to them about the surrounding countryside, tell them anecdotes to arouse their curiosity and make them want to carry on.

Depending on the age of the children, you can use different activities to break up the hike:

- From 3 to 5 years of age: hiking in stages

For young children, it's important to give a sense of meaning, or purpose, to the hike.If they feel entrusted with a "mission," they'll be much more willing to walk.

Tourist Offices are your best friends here as many of them have maps with orienteering courses that are accessible throughout the year.

This information will help your children to locate the posts indicated on the map and gradually advance in stages.You can then decide what reward to give for each post located: a small chocolate or points which count towards a larger prize etc.

If there aren't any orienteering courses along your hiking route, you can use the markings along the trail.This kind of activity will teach your child how to navigate their way round open land.This way he'll become your hiking guide!

At this age, they like to copy the adults, which is why you should suggest they carry a small backpack containing a snack and small flask.In terms of distance, a 3-6 km hike with little elevation change is enough to start with, to prevent them from becoming discouraged.

- From 6-8 years: exploring and learning

You can suggest that your children keep a hiking diary, in the form of a set of plant illustrations.It's a fun way of teaching them about plants and their environment.To do this, each child could have a small notebook in which he or she can display flowers, leaves or seeds collected when out hiking.

For your part, you can slip a book on mountain plants into your backpack; this will help you select specimens that you may find along the way.

When you stop for a picnic, or once you're back home, you can help them make a note in their book of the name of species collected, the date, the place where it was picked as well as other observations about the flower and its environment.When you next go out hiking, you can suggest that the children take their notebook with them and add to it each time so that it becomes a genuine trail journal.

As with very small children, you need a route with little elevation change, which can vary in distance between 7 and 12 km.

- For 9 to 12 year olds: photo challenge and "tips and tricks"

There's nothing like a photographic challenge to motivate older children.Depending on the route chosen, you can give your children a list of things to photograph during the hike.You can "assess" the results of this little competition either on your return or during the hike using a mobile app.This is the idea behind the Quechua Tracking app which, for example, allows the user to attach photos to their hiking route and then print them out to make a book.As well as providing an outlet for your children's creativity, it'll be a great source of memories when you get back home.

Another idea: "the tips and tricks" nature trail offered by mountain guides.This hike is a real opportunity for learning, with tips about plants, information on how to light a fire without matches and what to do when you're cold etc.Your children will feel like real Robinson Crusoes and will love showing you what they've learnt during your next hike.Next time, you can suggest that they're in charge of the map and lead the way - although, of course, you'll need to keep a close on the direction taken!

Finally, at this age, children like to spend time with their friends.So why not ask one or two of their friends to come with you?Your children will be much more motivated as a result.

In terms of distance, from around the age of ten, children have more-or-less the same ability as adults.However, to avoid getting into trouble, you need to be careful not to underestimate the effort required and be vigilant in terms of their hydration and nutritional requirements.

If, in spite of everything, you sense that the children are slightly despondent, a cereal bar or some dried fruit will boost their energy levels. You can also motivate them by telling them what distance you've already covered, your time of arrival and suggest short, regular breaks along the way.

Finally, an emergency first-aid kit is essential in case of cuts and grazes!

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