Hiking with kids is fun, although you will often hear them complain of being tired, hungry, or thirsty. This is more so for kids who are not used to hiking. If you have a 5-year-old kid, and you want to hike with them, one question you might be asking is how far they can hike.
A 5-year-old kid can easily hike 2 -3 miles, especially if they are enthusiastic about outdoor activities and used to the exertion. Nevertheless, this will depend on the weather and hiking terrain you choose. They might not go that far if the weather is poor or the terrain is steep and rough.
I will help you know how far your 5-year-old can hike and share essential tips for a successful hike. Additionally, I shall discuss the type of clothes they should wear and the best snacks to pack along for them.
Also, we shall guide you on how to choose the best hiking trail for your kid. Keep reading to find out what you need to know.
Essential Tips For Hiking With A 5-Year-Old
A 5-year-old kid can easily get distracted and will want to make many stops on the way to collect some river stones or pluck some leaves.
If this happens, you might not have an alternative but to allow them to take a break or to take the trail at their own pace.
Below are some helpful tips for a successful hike.
Start Early In The Day
Kids are usually in their best mood and the most energetic in the morning.
Therefore, you should prepare and leave early since the hike might take a longer time than you planned. You don’t want to be rushing your young ones down the steep hill when the night falls.
Discuss What Your Kid Can Do If They Get Lost
Children at the age of 5 years can wander easily and get lost. Before setting out for a hike, it is crucial to guide them on what they can do if they get lost. No one would want to be separated from their kids, especially in a place far from home.
However, you should do it gently to avoid instilling fear in them or have them dismiss the hiking idea completely. Let the kids know that if they get separated from you, they should not freak out but stay put instead.
They should then blow their whistles four times and wait to hear if there will be any response. If no one responds, they need to blow it again until someone finds them.
Let Them Carry Their Own Packs
Even though everyone in a hiking team should carry their pack, the idea might not seem practical for a 5-year-old kid. Nevertheless, you should encourage them to carry their own packs.
Each backpack should have essentials like a flashlight, water, and rainjackets, among other things they may need to survive in case the weather takes a turn for the worse.
You need to be prepared if they request you to carry the pack for them at some point.
Allow The Kids To Lead The Way
Kids feel good when given a chance to lead in any activity. This is why you should allow them to choose the direction that your hiking group should follow.
Nevertheless, it should still be within your guidance. If you are hiking with more than one kid, allow them to lead in turns. You don’t want arguments between them along the way.
What Should Your 5-Year-Old Wear When Hiking?
The type of clothes you pack for your 5-year-old depends on the weather.
If the weather is cold and rainy, pack warm clothes for them and don’t forget to include a raincoat. If you are hiking in sunny weather, dress them in lightweight clothes that will wick sweat away properly.
5-year-old kids are very playful, and as they explore, they might jump into a mud puddle or a stream. A change of clothes will ensure they have maximum fun and exploration without worrying about their clothes getting muddy and wet.
Another essential thing to consider when choosing hiking clothes for your young one is color. Always ensure they are dressed in bright-colored clothes. This will enable you to see them if they hike far ahead of you or behind.
Best Hiking Snacks For a 5-year-Old
Hiking has a high energy demand, and therefore you should be well-prepared in your choice of snack for a 5-year-old. Besides, kids at this age eat a lot, and you might not have a good day if you don’t pack enough snacks for them.
Choosing the right snacks for your kids doesn’t have to be a challenge. You can pack the things they like, but try to aim for calorie-dense choices that will hold up to getting bumped around in a backpack. Here are some ideas:
- trail mix
- peanut butter crackers
- granola bars
Stop frequently to snack, at least after every hour; otherwise, the kids will burn and crash. And don’t forget to pack along plenty of water!
How To Choose The Best Hike For a 5-Year-Old
Establishing the best hike for your young hiker can be both fun and challenging. Here are some things to keep in mind when doing so.
How Active Your Child Is
Kids are different in many ways; some like outdoor activities while others like being indoors. If your child is an indoor one, they might not be so active and will get tired easily.
Therefore, consider choosing a trail that is not so rough or steep, especially if it is their first time hiking.
Consider The Landmarks
Trails that feature interesting landmarks will attract your 5-year-old kid. Try to choose a trail with lovely trees, large rocks over which they can scramble and take a picture, or one that has old memories of cars or trains.
You will also not go wrong by choosing a trail with a bridge, lake, or river since most kids will find these attractions fascinating.
An “Escape” Option
It’s not a bad idea to look for a longer trail (2-3 miles) that you think your 5-year-old can manage, but it’s even better if that trail has a short-cut option.
Then if your little one is getting worn out (or you’ve run out of snacks!), you have the ability to get back to the start sooner rather than later.
A 5-year-old child should not limit you from hiking if you are an outdoor parent. You can go hiking with them, provided you know what distance they can cover comfortably.
At the age of five, most kids can hike for up to three miles so long as the trail is smooth and the weather is favorable.
Plan your next hiking day and get the best out of it as a family.