Hiking with young children – tips and tricks from our camp activity staff!
Hiking is a great summer activity in the Alps, and there’s no better way to enjoy the spectacular mountain views and serene landscape of the mountains in and around Verbier than exploring some of the trails this beautiful area has to offer.
Many trails are family-friendly and hiking can be a great way to spend time together, however, for families with young children, it can be a challenge to keep them both interested and motivated so that everyone can enjoy the hike.
For young children, a great tip is to make sure that you take your hike at a time of day when they won’t be tired! If you have very young children who will be in a baby backpack, then you may want to go over nap-time so they fall asleep, but for older children make sure your day trip allows time for their usual periods of sleep so they aren’t cranky and tired, and can fall asleep in the car on the way home.
Play games along the trail. This is a great way to keep children motivated and make the activity fun for them as well. Games such as ‘I spy’ are easy and can be played anywhere, and get children interested in looking at their surroundings as well. Another favourite at camp is ‘lava’; perfect for woody paths in the woods, children have to move along without touching the lava, stepping on rocks and tree branches instead.
Scavenger hunts can also be a great option for younger children on a hike, and although it won’t necessarily get them moving in one direction very quickly, it will help them explore their environment. This doesn’t have to be complicated or planned in advance, but finding simple things like pine cones, 3 different shaped leaves, a smooth stone, and a rough stone, a feather; these can all be simple things and adapted to where you are walking, to keep kids looking and moving forward as they search!
Hike with friends!
This isn’t always achievable, but especially for a longer hike, kids are much more motivated when hiking with friends! They will also entertain each other by making up games and keep each other moving, making for a more relaxing hike for the grown-ups!
Sing! Songs can be a great way to distract children and cheer them up if they’ve suddenly discovered tired legs or uncomfortable shoes!
Walk family-friendly, themed trails. There are a great selection of trails in places that are designed for families and children, with interesting things to see and do along the way. In Verbier, a great option is the ‘Sentier des Sculptures’, which is part of the bisse walk and offers interesting mountain and animal-themed sculptures with information on each section to read to kids. Walking along the bisse can also be lots of fun, as this is a very gentle flowing man-made stream with water that can be paddled in or used for ‘races’ of sticks or other floating natural objects you may find! Check the details of each trail before you start and make sure that it is marked as easy or family-friendly, isn’t too long or steep to avoid carrying tired children.
Have a fun destination or activity planned
Planning your walk with something to look forward to, perhaps a restaurant for lunch or even just a juice is a great idea, and kids will stay motivated to reach their destination. Other things can be a look-out point, or a lake or waterfall, for example. Incorporating rides of the lifts is also great fun for children, for younger ones that you are worried about on the chairlift there are bubbles, or for slightly bigger kids chairlifts are a fun way to see the views too, and get up high without too much uphill walking!
A water and snack break is very important to keep kids fuelled up! There are lots of benches along trails that provide the perfect spot for this.
We hope you have a great time hiking with your little ones!