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Topic: Hiking with my 7/8yr old, Hiking with Kids< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 03 2012, 4:34 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I just had to take a moment and mention that in the last 12-18 months I have had great success in backpacking with my son.  When we first started out he was 7 and is now 8.  We do several day hikes 3-5 miles per day.  He and I have been to the Manistee River trial/NCT loop 3 times.  The first trip we only hiked up 8 miles, camped and hiked out.  The next 2 trips were the entire loop.  The first loop section was in March of 2012 and the longest day was 13 miles.  The second full loop trip was in June 2012 and the longest day was 18 miles.

We have also taken some long Saturday/Sunday hikes around 10 miles long as well.

My son carries his own REI pack with sleeping pad, sleeping bag, change of socks and underwear and even carries a hydration pack (2liters) and an REI campstool. Plus a few other items......

He loves nature and loves the beauty of the Manistee area.

One lesson though is what to do after hiking many miles?  well, an 8 year old gets bored easily when dad is falling asleep in the tent!  The last trip I had him bring his Nintendo DSI and a deck of UNO cards.  These items kept him occupied for a bit but he eventually got bored and wanted to take a walk and swim in the nearby river.  

I guess the point of my long winded story is really 2 things, first to say that an 7/8 year old can go do a 26 mile loop and that you better have an idea of what to do to keep him from getting bored once you get into camp.

If anyone has questions please share?

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 04 2012, 2:34 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Wow, that's impressive.  My son just turned 8, as well.  I have a hard time with him for anything longer than about 5 miles.  We recently did about 8 miles in one day (day hiking from a base camp), and he was ok.  But I doubt very much I could get him to do much more than 10, never mind 18.  Impressive.  He's a cute kid, too.  Looks a little bigger than my guy.

I have found that keeping him engaged helps.  I mostly hike alone, and enjoy silence.  Sometimes I forget that he may not share that sentiment.  So I'll sidle up to him and start a conversation.  Not long ago, after a couple of miles of chatting, he said "Dad, the time goes fast when we're talking."  

Another thing that I've noticed is, his frame of reference is so different from mine.  I've taken him on trails I've hiked 100 times, and he noticed things I never saw before.  Mostly at or near ground level.  :)  I think his eyes tend to scan the ground constantly, where mine are either inward or more on the sky and trees etc.  I've tried to capitalize on this to keep him interested.

As for things to do in camp, I've thought a lot about that.  So far, I've refused the DS, but we did bring a deck of cards on out a recent overnite.  I decided to instead try this.  I have a bunch of those little Audubon Pocket Guide books (not the heavy ones, the little ones).  My thought was to bring one or two, and spend some time using them.  We took the tree one, and had a great time identifying the trees in and around our campsite.  My other thought was to teach him knots, and I got him a little guide (group of plastic cards on a swivel).  But I haven't managed to get him interested (seems to think he already knows how to tie a knot).  

Anyway, thanks for posting this.  Would love to hear more about how to make a young boy love the wilderness (and enjoy walking through it)!

Mark
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 04 2012, 2:43 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

A recent pic.  He uses an Osprey Jib pack, but only carries his bag, a water bottle and a few snacks.

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 04 2012, 11:53 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm contemplating the what to do in camp issue, and realize that we never had much problem with it, because we have two kids.  They play together (still do, even now as teens), in or out of the tent (lots of drawing silly stuff when they were little).  Little cars and small stuffies have had some interesting adventures over the years (a closed-cell foam pad can make a great raceway for a Hot Wheels car).  We also always have something to read.  

Maybe you two should get together and take both your boys hiking?  :D


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 05 2012, 6:53 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I got interested in the wilderness due to girl scouts. I used to take out my scouting guide and read the sections on learning to use a map, building a fire, and setting up a tent. I know the boys have probably mastered some basics, but it might be fun to 'teach them' how to really read a map with a compass, or how to build different types of fires.

Another great thing to learn and practice is wilderness first aide, learning to splint and treat minor cuts. Or how about practice with the water filter. The more they learn to do on their own, the more they will feel confident :)

Find an old scouting book or manual and have fun!


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 13 2012, 10:26 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

My kid always brought a headlamp plus a book to read - no electronics allowed on our backpacking trips.

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Hiking with kids in tow adds a new dimension to the Wonders of Nature
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 02 2012, 1:54 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Same here with a ban to electronics with my kids on hikes.  One thing my kids play (8 and 10...the others are either too young to camp or are busy doing Scouting activities with the older boys) is a game they made up called "Epic," where they pick up sticks and use their imaginations to fight off dragons, zombies, whatever and go on short adventures.  We normaly camp where there's a little bit of space and terrain around so they can play and explore within earshot of me.  Also, if you get a small fire going, the kids will be more than happy keeping that thing burning day and night (if you are in a place where fire is OK and/or there is no burn ban in effect).

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 02 2012, 7:27 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hey, wait a minute--what do you mean, too young to camp?  Though, to be sure, backpacking required help when they were both babies/toddlers.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 09 2012, 11:30 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

You guys are right, I need to ban the electronics and have a book along instead...

Thanks for the comments too.

We are now planning a Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore trip in 2013.  Just over 42 miles and we are planning to do it in 4 days.  I have only done this trip 1 time so far but really think my son will love it...

Please keep sharing stories of trips with kids!
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 09 2012, 11:34 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(jmarklane @ Sep. 04 2012, 2:34 pm)
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Wow, that's impressive.  My son just turned 8, as well.  I have a hard time with him for anything longer than about 5 miles.  We recently did about 8 miles in one day (day hiking from a base camp), and he was ok.  But I doubt very much I could get him to do much more than 10, never mind 18.  Impressive.  He's a cute kid, too.  Looks a little bigger than my guy.

I have found that keeping him engaged helps.  I mostly hike alone, and enjoy silence.  Sometimes I forget that he may not share that sentiment.  So I'll sidle up to him and start a conversation.  Not long ago, after a couple of miles of chatting, he said "Dad, the time goes fast when we're talking."  

Another thing that I've noticed is, his frame of reference is so different from mine.  I've taken him on trails I've hiked 100 times, and he noticed things I never saw before.  Mostly at or near ground level.  :)  I think his eyes tend to scan the ground constantly, where mine are either inward or more on the sky and trees etc.  I've tried to capitalize on this to keep him interested.

As for things to do in camp, I've thought a lot about that.  So far, I've refused the DS, but we did bring a deck of cards on out a recent overnite.  I decided to instead try this.  I have a bunch of those little Audubon Pocket Guide books (not the heavy ones, the little ones).  My thought was to bring one or two, and spend some time using them.  We took the tree one, and had a great time identifying the trees in and around our campsite.  My other thought was to teach him knots, and I got him a little guide (group of plastic cards on a swivel).  But I haven't managed to get him interested (seems to think he already knows how to tie a knot).  

Anyway, thanks for posting this.  Would love to hear more about how to make a young boy love the wilderness (and enjoy walking through it)!

Mark

I did get my son (Nic) a pocket knife and we did whittle some wood.  We also started a fire with flint and steel.... I can try the books out and see what happens.  It is great sharing ideas with others here..
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 10 2012, 11:31 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(rfahndrich @ Dec. 09 2012, 11:30 pm)
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You guys are right, I need to ban the electronics and have a book along instead...

I've taken a slightly different approach.

My son's been backpacking with me since he was 9 or 10.  He's always carried his own gear.  I used to carry all the shared gear when he was younger but, for the last year or two, we've been carrying pretty equal loads.  I've always let him take whatever he can fit and carry in his pack lid.  Sometimes it's a book, sometimes it's electronics.  Only rule I have is that he has to have ear-phones.  I guess I figure we should both be free to do what we want during our down-times and if that means listening to music and playing Angry Birds for him, I'm perfectly OK with that.  No different, really, from me taking my Kindle and a flask of wine...   :D

I've tried to approach backpacking as something we enjoy doing together and my reward for that is a teenager who still thinks it's fun to go backpacking with his Mom.   :)


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 10 2012, 12:15 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

During the day, we really don't have a problem. We have sticks and rocks and bugs. We practiced making fires, whittling, water collection\purification, pick up litter, walking. He suggested we try out the Esbit stove for lunch on our trip this weekend.

But he is 10 and he is non-stop energy bundle until he crashes.

He asks, "What can we do now?" My response is, "What do you want to do?" and make him think of something.

Books are a favorite of his, but he was weight and space conscience and made a good case for his DS for in the tent before sleeping. And, he also noted, that if I am talking my phone, that he should get something electronic, too.

The discovered thing is that I spent all day teaching and talking and he enjoyed teaching me something on his DS after dark. We played Mario Kart for 20 minutes before sleeping.

It was one of those moments in parenting where I found him mirroring. It was kind of cool.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 10 2012, 10:14 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Rfahndrich, if only this forum had better archives. . . I've been posting reports of our trips since I joined in 2004, when the boys were nearly 7 and barely 5.  Alas, I'm not sure how many are retrievable.   Maybe I'll go hunting. . .

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 11 2012, 6:25 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Based on the last 2 comments I might reconsider the electronics idea.  My son also has ADHD and is also a bundle of energy until he crashes.  The DS seems to keep him focused for a while until he falls out.  

Again, based on comments I am not sure what to do now...

I appreciate the comments and ideas...
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 12 2012, 2:08 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I love mario cart!!! I let my kids bring their DS because it will keep them occupied later in the night when it is dark out and we are laying in our bags settleing in for the night. They are 10, 6 and 5 years old and carry pretty much all their own gear and water..minus the tent which I carry. They will usually pack a book, well my 10 year old daughter will because she loves to read, and their DSs'. They will only play with them as the night comes to an end and everything around camp is finished..and like someone else posted..no volume or at least minimul volume.  I dont have a problem with this because it works for all of us and I love that they enjoy coming out with me backpacking and camping and they NEVER complain about anything while we are out.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 29 2012, 4:01 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Back in the day when my two kids were 8-16 years old, and we often included a cousin or two of the same general age, we had a fall back plan for when things were particularly boring, or hot, or uncomfortable in some way.

We would start creating a story, out loud, and then pass the lead to the next person, who had to make up the next portion of the story, tying it in in some way to the part that had just finished.  It is amazing how quickly 5-10 miles can go by when a group is sharing in creating a fantasy tale.

Making one child responsible for navigation is always good for using some time, especially if/when a trail is missed, or a wrong turn made, or you are navigating cross country without a trail.

We always tooks books and cards too, since we were all card sharks.

Thinking about something else, without trying, is the key to walking long distances without boredom or complaint, IMO.


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PostIcon Posted on: May 22 2013, 12:35 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

So I have to say this thread has me geeking even harder for this weekend.  My 8yo daughter and I are heading to North Manitou Island for the weekend.

My rule to her was 1 stuffy, and a book, but no electronics.  Shes learning to navigate off trail (we've already covered trails and map reading) first aid, and "whatever you want to learn"

She wants to find the old truck junk yard on the north side of the island as well and we'll see how we do on that.

rfahndrich, where in Michigan are you guys?  We're outside Lansing
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PostIcon Posted on: May 23 2013, 1:11 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hey, booyah, have a great weekend!  Sounds like a lot of fun to me.

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PostIcon Posted on: May 29 2013, 2:23 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I've been dating a girl for 7 months now that has a 5 year old boy and we actually get along great.  He is incredibly smart for his age but unbelievably ADHD and addicted to video games because it seems to be the only thing that is enough stimulation to keep him occupied without driving everyone nuts..... of course I have a hard time with this.  I grew up outside constantly and camping, hiking, fishing, and doing EVERYTHING outdoors.  He's quite the opposite.. so I've wanted to show him why it excites me and how it can be fun.  I wasn't expecting much at all to be honest.  

We took him camping a couple weekends ago, just to a local campground with a playground and lake so that we had a few options for activities.  He loved it!  He was blown away by the idea of sleeping in a tent and cooking over a fire.  He had a blast running around with his own flashlight.  He had fun until we went fishing... he was disappointed right away... of course I had to whip out what my dad always told me!  "Son, if it was easy, it would be called Catching and not Fishing"  lol

We set him up with a movie on a laptop when we wanted him to go to sleep, so I would probably need the DS if we went backpacking, but I'm trying to wean him off of it and enjoy his surroundings.  Only downside of the trip??  Him staring me in the face at 5:30AM!! telling me it was daytime out!


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PostIcon Posted on: May 29 2013, 3:12 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Ah... you need a BIG hill.

When my son was in first grade, I took him and his best friend camping at Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes (Michigan).  I took them to the big "dune climb", which is a 260ft high sand dune hill, and told them they could be "Dune Goons" by climbing it 10 times in a row.  They did.  

We've gone camping there every summer since and he and his best friend have been Dune Goons every year.  They're high school freshmen this year.


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PostIcon Posted on: May 29 2013, 3:37 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Great idea!  I'm hoping to take him camping on the beach in Maryland soon so that we can do something different.  I think car camping is a good transition into it for him AND his mother lol

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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 19 2013, 4:26 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Another vote for no electronics.   I do let the kidling eat a LOT of junk food on our trips though. :)

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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 19 2013, 7:26 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I think there's nothing so good for a kid with ADHD as the outdoors--and some research to suggest that it helps them even just to LOOK at it, let alone be out in it.  So more power to you, and wear him out with big hills!

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(booyah @ May 22 2013, 12:35 pm)
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So I have to say this thread has me geeking even harder for this weekend.  My 8yo daughter and I are heading to North Manitou Island for the weekend.

My rule to her was 1 stuffy, and a book, but no electronics.  Shes learning to navigate off trail (we've already covered trails and map reading) first aid, and "whatever you want to learn"

She wants to find the old truck junk yard on the north side of the island as well and we'll see how we do on that.

rfahndrich, where in Michigan are you guys?  We're outside Lansing

We live in Battle Creek...
We just recently completed another section of the NCT with my son.  This was not a good trip. Too hot and humid. The ticks and Mosquitos were the worse I have ever seen.  It did not help that we pushed him hard for an 18 mile day...

We will probably hit the NCT/MRT in the fall or maybe Pictured Rocks with him.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 10 2013, 9:04 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I allow my boys (8 and 11) to bring their Kindles along with them, but they can only use them at bedtime.  We have hammocks so we aren't in a tent together.  They will sometimes watch a movie (if they aren't tired/sleepy), but usually they will read a book on the Kindle.

I usually bring my Kindle along as well.  I like to read before bed and with the Kindle I don't need an external light source.
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(rfahndrich @ Sep. 03 2012, 4:34 pm)
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One lesson though is what to do after hiking many miles?

My son likes to play Go Fish and Chinese Checkers (small magnetic travel size). I also have Parcheesi and would like to get a chess one.

He'll also play in the creek, fight aliens or Sith, etc.

You need to tell your boy to "man up" - a 9 year old girl (8 when she started) thru-hiked the PCT last summer and did the Colorado Trail this summer (most days 20-30 miles). Can't let a girl beat him. :) I'm joking, of course, about him matching her performance. I doubt I could keep up. She's a hiking machine as is the 13 year old girl that should complete her Triple Crown in another month or so.
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 04 2013, 9:29 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

This year was the first that our boys (14  & 15) spent more time reading than playing in camp.  As a result I was totally unable to finish reading my Jane Austin :)

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