Getting kids outdoors hiking in nature is great for their physical and mental wellbeing, as well as their cognitive development. And more simply – it’s great fun and means the whole family can enjoy hiking together.  

To ensure everyone enjoys their hike and stays safe, here are our top tips for hiking with kids.

Choose a family friendly hike – the key to a great hike is choosing a walk that everyone is capable of and will enjoy. Considering the difficulty of the hike is really important so that kids can manage the walk. Find out more about how hikes are rated so you can choose the right hike for your family. 

Allow more time to complete a hike – signs and visitor guides often advise the time the walk should take. If you have younger children, you should allow more time than advised to ensure you don’t need to rush and the kids have time to take in their surroundings and connect with nature.  

Make it fun for kids – incorporate a fun activity into your walk to get the kids interested. Find entertaining ideas and lots of free activities for download.

Supervise closely – kids are often unaware of potential risks, especially in an unfamiliar environment. Make sure to stay close and ensure kids stay away from areas they could fall from, deep water and other hazards.  

Tap into kids’ interests – Think about how you can incorporate your child’s interests into the experience. If they love taking photos, hand over the camera or phone so they can take photos of the things that catch their eye. Or, for example, if they are fascinated by dinosaurs, you could ask them to consider what the landscape may have looked like when dinosaurs roamed the area, or what they think the dinosaurs may have eaten.  

Listen to nature – There's so many sounds outdoors that kids can tune in to; from wind blowing through the trees, to different bird calls, insects and water flowing. Make a game or competition of identifying as many sounds as you can. Or simply get the kids to tune into their surroundings and experience the peace of being in nature.  

Teach kids something new – A hike is a perfect time to learn something new. Show kids how to read a map, calculate the time from the position of the sun, anticipate weather and use a first aid kit to deal with minor complaints such as blisters or grazes. 

Junior Rangers

The Junior Ranger program encourages children to explore Victoria’s amazing parks with a range of free and fun activities designed to inspire curiosity, discovery and connection. It is proudly supported by our Principal Partner, Macpac.
Group of people at a camp site

Kids, teens and families

Connecting children to nature from an early age and throughout their teens can support their development in many ways. Outdoor play and screen free time allows families to bond and experience nature together and creates lasting memories.
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