7 Tips for Hiking with Kids

Hiking with kids doesn't have to be a hard thing if you follow these 7 simple tips!

This last week we went hiking as part of our Memorial Day activities.  We live close to the mountains and there are a lot of canyons and hiking trails to choose from, so we are always finding fun new places to explore.  My kids especially love hiking and it is one of mine and my husband’s favorite activities as well so we do a lot of it.  With this being the case, I’ve learned a few tips along the way that have helped make hiking a more enjoyable experience for everyone.

This post is sponsored by Nuby.  All opinions are 100% my own.  This post contains affiliate links which means if you click on one and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.  Thank you for your support!

It’s Not A Race
As we were walking along the trail with our kids this last week, they inevitably got side-tracked by different things: climbing on rocks, a flower, a stick.  My initial reaction was along the lines of: “C’mon, let’s go!” but then I realized that the point of the hike wasn’t about making it to our destination as much as it was about spending time together doing something we enjoy.  So if you go into your hike expecting that it will take longer, you can cut down on frustration at the so-called interruptions that are going to happen.

Hiking with kids doesn't have to be a hard thing if you follow these 7 simple tips!

Bring Backpacks
This one has been a lifesaver for us when we go hiking.  I bought each of my kids a small backpack that we pack whenever we go on a hike.  Included in their packs is water and a couple of snacks to eat along the way.  They love having their own backpacks and I think it also helps them feel big and gives them a little bit more autonomy.  Even if your child says they will just carry their water or snacks in their hands or pockets, have them bring the pack because almost without fail they will want you to carry it for them or it will be put down and forgotten.  Here are a few good backpack options I found: HERE, HERE and HERE.

Hiking with kids doesn't have to be a hard thing if you follow these 7 simple tips!

Create Teaching Moments
At one point in our hike, we stopped for a little snack break and the thought occurred to me to talk to my kids about littering.  I asked my daughter what we should do if we are out somewhere and there isn’t a garbage can for us to put the wrappers or plastic bottles in.  She replied that we should put it back in our backpacks and then throw it away later.  Then we talked about why that was important (keep trails clean, showing respect, etc).  It was a really simple lesson and one of those things that makes a bigger impact when we are actually out in nature rather than trying to explain it at some other time.  A few other teaching moments you could incorporate into your hike could be talking about plants and animals in the area, how rivers/streams are made, bring a nature journal and collecting leaves/flowers.

Hiking with kids doesn't have to be a hard thing if you follow these 7 simple tips!

Research the Hike
Anytime we go on a hike, I make sure to find some basic information about it: Does it have bathrooms at the trailhead or along the way?  How long is the hike?  Difficulty level?  Directions or landmarks for finding the trail?  Best time of year for hiking?  Stroller or wagon friendly?  The list goes on and what you want to know will obviously depend on your own family.  I recently found a really helpful website called AllTrails.com, where you can search by state and it will come up with a list of hikes and a helpful description of what you’ll find.

Hiking with kids doesn't have to be a hard thing if you follow these 7 simple tips!

Sunscreen, Wipes, Hand Sanitizer
Even if you put sunscreen on before you start the hike, odds are that you’ll need it again at some point before you get back to your car.  There are plenty of travel size containers of sunscreen that there really isn’t an excuse not to bring some.  Also, nature is dirty and kids seem to gravitate towards dirt so having something to wipe their hands off with is a good idea.  Just grab a travel size package of baby wipes and throw them in your bag.  And lastly, grab a small bottle of hand sanitizer to disinfect everyone’s hands with before eating or after playing in the water (if your hiking to a waterfall or by a stream).

Hiking with kids doesn't have to be a hard thing if you follow these 7 simple tips!

Flip-Flops/Water Shoes/Extra Socks
I don’t know about you, but after a long hike, all I want to do is take my shoes and socks off and let my feet breathe.  A lot of times, we will go out and get some food or stop by a store after our hike and it’s nice to have the extra pair of shoes to change into.  Depending on the hike, we will bring water shoes so we can wade around in the water and cool off, plus they protect our feet from sharp rocks and give us traction.  Along with this, consider bringing an extra pair of socks.  The shoes I use when we go hiking double as water shoes, but I hate wearing them without socks, so I like to bring an extra pair that I can change into before we start back.  Same goes for your kids.  Throw the flip flops or water shoes or socks into their backpack and let them carry it.

Hiking with kids doesn't have to be a hard thing if you follow these 7 simple tips!

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
And last, but not least, bring lots and lots of WATER.  This is one of those things that you absolutely do not want to skimp on.  Who cares if you have to stop along the trail 10 times so your child can relieve themselves?  It’s much better than the alternative.  Whether you’re hiking when it’s cloudy and cooler or hot and sunny, you need to keep yourself and your family hydrated and cool.  Little kids can overheat pretty easily so stopping and reminding everyone to get a good drink is essential.  Throw some ice cubes into everyone’s bottle or cup or even freeze the whole water bottle for a refreshing and cool drink for your entire (or at least most) of your hike.

Hiking with kids doesn't have to be a hard thing if you follow these 7 simple tips!

Hiking with kids doesn't have to be a hard thing if you follow these 7 simple tips!

We brought our kids’ Nuby Thirsty Kids Reflex water canteens with us on our hike and they were perfect.  The plastic is made of durable tritan from Eastman and the push top could be pushed down and covered by a plastic latch so it stayed clean.  The 12-oz size was perfect for our kids and how much they normally drink.  You can find these cups in store at Target and Babies R’ Us.  (Shop the water canteens online HERE.

(For my local Utah friends, the hike in these pictures is Battle Creek Falls in Pleasant Grove.)

What tips and tricks have you found helpful when you go hiking with your family?

And now, I’ve got a fun giveaway that you can enter to win four (4) of these Nuby Thirsty Kids Reflex water canteens for your kids!  See below to find out how to enter!

  • Visit Nuby USA on Facebook (required)
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  • Follow Nuby USA on Instagram (required)
  • Follow Sunshine & Munchkins on Instagram (required)
  • Leave a comment (optional, extra entry)
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Midway Ice Castles {plus a GIVEAWAY!}

The Ice Castles in Midway, UT are breathtaking and absolutely incredible to see in person!  Read more about how to plan your visit.

I’ll be totally honest: winter is definitely not my favorite time of the year in terms of the weather.  I get super jealous of those of you who live in places where it’s warmer in the winter and always wish I could just hop on a plane and visit for a weekend and soak up some vitamin D.  I didn’t include ‘sunshine’ as part of my blog’s name for nothing! *wink*  That being said, there are some things about winter that I do enjoy because there isn’t any other time of year to experience it (at least not where I live).  One of these things are the Ice Castles in Midway, UT.

I received complimentary tickets to visit the Ice Castles but all opinions are 100% my own.

Ice castles.  Doesn’t that sound like something directly out of Frozen?  Even if you’re not a fan of the movie, I promise that these ice castles are breathtakingly beautiful and almost seem otherworldly.  The castles are formed using icicles that have been grown by a crew and are slowly added to the structure and replaced throughout the event.  By the time the structure is complete, the walls are 10 feet thick and about 20 feet high in some places!

The Ice Castles in Midway, UT are breathtaking and absolutely incredible to see in person!  Read more about how to plan your visit.

The Ice Castles in Midway, UT are breathtaking and absolutely incredible to see in person!  Read more about how to plan your visit.

The guy who created the Ice Castles concept is actually from my home town so most years they have an event here in Utah.  However, they’ve slowly expanded over the years and are currently in Midway, UT; Lincoln, NH; Stillwater, MN; Wisconsin Dells, WI and Edmonton, AB (Canada).  So if you live near any of these places, be sure to visit because this is truly an amazing and fun family experience you will not want to miss!

My family and I visited the Ice Castles last year in Midway and our kids loved it!  We knew we wanted to go again this year so I signed up for their email list so I could get notices about when it would be open.  When it did, we got tickets right away because they tend to sell out quick!  We decided to go this last weekend as a family and invited my brother-in-law, his wife and their two kids to come with us.  My kids love spending time with their cousins!

The Ice Castles in Midway, UT are breathtaking and absolutely incredible to see in person!  Read more about how to plan your visit.

When you first walk into the Ice Castles through a somewhat narrow (but tall) tunnel, it literally makes you stop and just take a look around.  It is nothing like you’ve ever seen before.  The walls are so high and the ice is a beautiful blue color.  If you look up through any of the tunnels, you will see hundreds of icicles above you.  (Don’t worry, they won’t fall!)  We went in the middle of the day.  The sun was shining and it was surprisingly warm, which was great because then our kids could enjoy the time there.  But they are also open until later on at night and if you go then, they have brightly colored lights that are inside the ice walls!

The Ice Castles in Midway, UT are breathtaking and absolutely incredible to see in person!  Read more about how to plan your visit.

The Ice Castles in Midway, UT are breathtaking and absolutely incredible to see in person!  Read more about how to plan your visit.

My kids’ favorite areas were the fountains, kid-sized ice slides and the ice benches.  They also have an ice slide for bigger kids and adults, but be aware that they don’t allow lap riders or doubles.  My brother-in-law’s family went down the slide but our kids were too little.  It looked like so much fun and everyone who rode it had a smile on their face.

The Ice Castles in Midway, UT are breathtaking and absolutely incredible to see in person!  Read more about how to plan your visit.

The Ice Castles in Midway, UT are breathtaking and absolutely incredible to see in person!  Read more about how to plan your visit.

The Ice Castles in Midway, UT are breathtaking and absolutely incredible to see in person!  Read more about how to plan your visit.

The Ice Castles in Midway, UT are breathtaking and absolutely incredible to see in person!  Read more about how to plan your visit.

As far as what to wear and bring, I definitely recommend dressing your kids in snow pants, boots and gloves at the very least.  The ground is uneven due to the ice and snow and came up to my ankles in some places.  You won’t want to bring any strollers or wheelchairs because of this.  I saw some families with small children bring sleds to pull their kids around on which I thought was a great idea.  Also make sure to bring a camera because the opportunities for pictures are plentiful.  There are so many little alcoves and tunnels and towers to take pictures of and in front of that you’ll be sorry if you miss it.  I’d be cautious about bringing any super nice cameras though (refer to the comment about uneven ground).

The Ice Castles in Midway, UT are breathtaking and absolutely incredible to see in person!  Read more about how to plan your visit.

The Ice Castles in Midway, UT are breathtaking and absolutely incredible to see in person!  Read more about how to plan your visit.

The Ice Castles in Midway, UT are breathtaking and absolutely incredible to see in person!  Read more about how to plan your visit.

If you’ve wanted to visit the Ice Castles, but haven’t been sure it’s worth the drive, take my word for it that you and your family will love it.  You can check out ticket prices, hours, directions and more on their official website by clicking HERE.

Also, I’m super excited to be able to do a giveaway for 4 tickets to visit the Midway Ice Castles courtesy of the Ice Castles!  These tickets will cover the entire cost of 4 tickets no matter the price, day or time you go.  Please note that this giveaway is for the Ice Castles in Midway, Utah so please enter only if you  are able to use them at this location.

The Ice Castles in Midway, UT are breathtaking and absolutely incredible to see in person!  Read more about how to plan your visit.

To enter:

  • Follow Sunshine & Munchkins on Pinterest (required)
  • Visit Sunshine & Munchkins page on Facebook (required)
  • Follow Sunshine & Munchkins on Instagram (extra entry)
  • Leave a blog comment below (extra entry)

The giveaway will be open from today, January 4, 2017 to Tuesday, January 10, 2017 at 12am MST.  The winner will be announced on Facebook on Wednesday, January 11.  Good luck!

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Winter Bucket List {plus a FREE printable}

Beating Wintertime Boredom--fun list of things to do as a family in the winter plus a FREE printable bucket list!

I’ll be honest: I don’t like winter.  I don’t like being cold.  In my ideal world, it would only snow on Christmas Day and then melt the next day.  Oh, and it would be 85 degrees outside at the same time.  I’m just a warm weather girl.  BUT don’t think that means that I don’t try my best to embrace the season and everything that comes with it.  I have a lot of wonderful memories surrounding winter: My husband and I met in the fall and dated during the winter.  Our first date was ice skating and hot chocolate.  We got engaged on New Years Eve.  So while I don’t like the cold, I do my best to bundle up in cute clothes and think about the things that make winter fun and magical.  Now that I have kids, I see how excited they get when they see the snow falling, put on their snow clothes and run and jump and play and lay down in it.  After all, I grew up in Utah and I still live here and there are some things that I actually love doing during the winter.

Before I had kids, I worked and went to school and did things with my husband and friends, and the winter seemed to go by fairly quickly.  Now that I am home with my kids full time, winter can seem really, really long.  The kids get antsy.  I get a little crazy.  It’s hard.  So to help get us through the winter months, I have learned to plan activities and events to look forward to.  Some are holiday related and others are simply winter activities.

So if your family is anything like mine, you’ll be needing a few fun things to make the time fly.  I’ve created a winter bucket list for you and–bonus: it’s a FREE printable!  Just click on the picture below and print it off.  Then hang it on your fridge and have fun checking the list off!

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxRgDW3yUCnDMU5MYmRJX3U5RHc/view?usp=sharing

What else would you add to the list?