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How to make hiking fun for kids

As great as it may be to go for a long family walk in the great outdoors, many parents find that before long their little ones start whinging about tired legs, demand to be carried or complain that they're bored. 

However, this doesn't mean that you should leave your youngsters at home next time you head out for a hike, as there are a few simple things you can do to ensure that your children enjoy the walk as much as you do.

First of all, make sure you choose a walk that is not too long for the age of the kids you're bringing along. Indeed, while you can reasonably expect a six year old to happily walk for several kilometres, a 15 mile hike might prove to be too tiring for little legs.

At the same time try and pick a route that you think your youngsters will enjoy, such as one that goes around a lake, through forest land or past farms where you can look out for animals. And make sure that you factor in plenty of time for your route so you don't have to rush youngsters and can let them take several breaks to rest their legs and have a snack.

It also helps to try and get kids involved by encouraging them to help read the map, use a compass or lead the group on the hike. For very little ones parents may want to make a list of things for your kids to look out for on the walk, such as a sheep, a pretty leaf, a black beetle or a colourful flower, as this will help them become more aware of their environment.

Finally, make sure your youngsters are dressed properly with sturdy walking boots, a high quality boys or girls waterproof jacket and any extras such as gloves and scarves, as this will ensure that they are comfortable and get the most out of their hike.

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