Monday, March 7, 2011
Tips from Author Jeff Alt on Hiking with Your Kids.
Best Tips for Teaching Your Kids to Enjoy Hiking
How do you teach your children to enjoy hiking? Start early and make it fun! So says outdoor enthusiast extraordinaire and author Jeff Alt.
“Getting kids outside is more important than ever,” he says. “TV, computer and video game addictions are replacing outdoor play time. Passive inside entertainment is contributing significantly to the national obesity epidemic! It’s time to get off the couch America! Get the kids outside!”
Jeff is an avid hiker. In addition to walking the 2,160-mile Appalachian Trail, he also walked the 218-mile John Muir Trail with his wife, and trekked across a 50-mile path of Ireland with his wife, young daughter, and extended family. He and his wife emerged from the church doors on their wedding day wearing backpacks, and his son was taken on his first hike at 8 weeks.
Jeff has lots of great advice about how to make sure you and the kids have a great time outdoors.
Start Early-Develop A Routine:
Give your kids a healthy dose of “Early Outdoor Intervention.” It will pay off later.
Start hiking with your newborn:
Infants and children weighing less than 15 pounds should be carried in a front body carrier or a sling.
Children weighing 16 to 40 pounds can fit into a child carrier backpack.
Children weighing more than 30 pounds might be ready to hike short distances and carry a little daypack.
Let the child lead. This helps you focus on what they’re interested in and keeps you from leaving them in your dust.
Get outside every day. Take a walk with the family once a day. Walk around the block, go to the park, go to the beach, and river. Get maps and books and search out and find new places to go. See new places all the time.
Save money and stop driving everywhere. Walk to the grocery store. Walk to your local restaurant for dinner and back. Walk to the library. Make walking and hiking as routine as brushing your teeth.
Bring the outdoors inside. Educate constantly to generate interest and enthusiasm. Take lots of pictures of the kids and places you go. Make posters for the family and living room and for Christmas cards. Get magazines, videos, and artwork that show places you want to go. Rent movies about faraway places. Use the Internet together to look at maps, and photographs of the wildlife, environments, and spectacular scenery you will be visiting someday.
Go high tech. Bring on the gadgetry! Turn your computer game nerds on to the adventure technology. (e.g. GPS, pedometers headlamp flashlights, geocaching) and teach them all about how these incredible devices are being used for fun, like scavenger hiking in the Shenandoah & Great Smoky Mtn Ntl. Parks.
Take the kids to local orienteering course and learn how to use GPS & compass together.
Involve the kids in planning out all trips and adventures. Older children can use the computer to research your destination or sport. (all national parks and most other destinations have websites chock full of facts & info., maps, wildlife).
Let the kids (especially teens) bring along a friend. Get permission from parents and make it a club adventure.
About Jeff Alt
In addition to walking the 2,160-mile Appalachian Trail, Jeff Alt has walked the 218-mile John Muir Trail with his wife, and trekked across a 50-mile path of Ireland with his wife, young daughter, and extended family. He and his wife emerged from the church doors on their wedding day with backpacks. His son was taken on his first hike at 8 weeks.
Alt is a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America (OWAA). His adventures have been featured in media nationwide including: ESPN, Hallmark Channel, the AP, CNN-Radio, NPR, and more. Alt's award-winning books, A Walk for Sunshine and A Hike for Mike, have been reviewed in Library Journal, Chicago Sun Times and more.
For more information visit http://www.jeffalt.com/
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