Bushwalking (or hiking) is for all ages, from babies that can be carried, toddlers who can walk and children and teens that can run!
One of the great benefits of getting children outdoors on a nature walk is taking advantage of the opportunity to develop their physical skills.
They climb over rocks; walk on different surfaces; balance on logs; jump puddles; tread carefully; pull themselves up; lower themselves down; learn to assess risks and to overcome physical challenges.
Tips for bushwalking with kids:
- Choose a walk that is short and easy with lots of interesting features.
- Dress appropriately by wearing appropriate footwear and sun smart clothing.
- Carry plenty of water and healthy snacks.
- Take the map.
- Carry a First Aid Kit.
- Always check the weather conditions.
- Remember there doesn't always need to be an end point to a walk. Stop to look and listen when something catches your child's attention and just turn around if the kids get tired.
Bushwalking allows you to discover all sorts of different environments from eucalypt forests to rainforests, as well as Aboriginal or historic sites, scenic lookouts, swimming holes, waterfalls, wildflowers and loads more.
Canberra certainly has some great walks and we're not called the Bush Capital for nothing. For all of Canberra's trail information visit www.environment.act.gov.au
If you are new to bushwalking or would prefer to learn more before heading off on your own with the kids, the two groups below have programs suitable for parents who are baby wearing or have children who are walking (18months - 5 years).
- Canberra Bushwalking Club - 'Toddlers Toddle'
- Bluearth's Meet and Move - 'Bubs in the Bush' and 'Toddlers Trails'
For older children, the following offer ranger guided walks and activities:
Why not let the kids lead the way on your next hiking adventure!
Being able to use a map and compass is a valuable skill that can be used in numerous outdoor activities.
Teaching kids these skills can be a fun family activity on a weekend. Why not start by introducing a map of an area your kids are familiar with (for instance your local neighbourhood map). Using a map of a small, familiar area can help kids to more easily relate what they see around them to what's on the map, and ultimately better understand how maps work.
Family-friendly clubs and associations:
Orienteering ACT: Orienteering is a navigation sport where you visit checkpoints using a map.
ACT Rogaining Association: Rogaining is a sport of long distance cross country navigation.