Distraction toolbox

Sometimes, you’ve driven an hour and have planned to hike for a bit before heading anywhere else. And your kids aren’t having it. They’re tired, hungry, bored, what have you, but you need them to last a bit longer. Ever happened to you? I feel like this is a super common experience. Here’s a little list of some ideas to put in your distraction toolbox.

-wildlife brochure: guys you know I LOVE these. I can’t get enough of the Pocket Naturalist guides and everything similar. I’ve gotten some on Amazon, some from local buy/sell/trade pages, and some at National Park gift shops.

-plant and flower brochure: spring and summer are perfect times to whip these out and work on your plant and flower identification. We’ve been practicing for a couple of years now and have a good handle on identifying a few plants.

-bird brochure: another Pocket Naturalist guide. We have tons of interesting birds here (pelicans, grouse, warblers, eagles, falcons, hawks, vultures) and they’re mesmerizing.

-magnifying glasses: get up close! examine the different shapes and colors found on the plants and rocks you come across.

-binoculars: looking at waterfalls, specific rock outcrops, even animals can help focus kids on something besides how tired they are.

-snacks: obviously. We pack lots of Annie’s bunnies, fig bars, trail mix, sometimes protein bars to feed these littles. Sometimes I have to remind the littlest to keep walking while she’s eating.

-small toys to hold: not my favorite because they can get lost, but small toys helps my kids use their imagination and can keep them going pretty well.

-songs and games: we like taking turns picking songs to sing (plus it helps us make more noise so we don’t surprise any wildlife). We also love playing what we call “The Rainbow Game”. We try to find every color of the rainbow in nature. Sometimes we do two sets, one of just wildflowers and another of anything else. It gets my kids observing what’s around them and describing it too.

-friends: it’s surprising how much better my kids hike with friends around. The complaining drops almost completely and we move so much faster. Hike with friends when you can!

Any tips I should add to my toolbox? What helps your kids hike?

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