5 tips for your first hike with children

10 January 2024

The first nature trip with the kids can be challenging for parents, but for the kids, it’s sure to be an adventurous day. In this article, you’ll find several tips for organising your first hike with the kids.

With proper preparation, the whole family will enjoy a successful hike in the hills of Transylvania at Valea Verde Retreat.

Why is hiking important for young children?

Hiking in Transylvania is a wonderful opportunity to spend quality time together and teach children about nature and wildlife while ensuring they get plenty of exercises.

Children can watch and identify birds, pick plants to show at school, find flowers, trees they have studied at school, and see the difference between landforms. In addition, it is a good opportunity to tell them about the safety precautions they need to take while hiking, practice their orienteering techniques, and follow the path on the map.

Tips for the first hike with children

Choose an easy route

At least for the first few hikes, choose a route that isn’t too long or too strenuous – remember that hiking is a new experience for children. Choosing a trail with certain features- a lake, stream, waterfall, or something else – will keep kids busy and give them something to aim for. And remember, it’s about the journey, not the destination. If the little ones are more interested in getting down on all fours and exploring under the bushes, then that’s today’s experience – there will always be a next time.

A truffle hunting session can be a great idea for a family activity. We offer guided hunts in the forest between Cund and Dumbraveni for groups of one to fourteen guests. Transylvania’s beautiful forests are home to a wide variety of wildlife and delicious produce.

Make sure they are well-hydrated and have plenty of snacks

The perfect day can become a dreaded memory if your child’s most basic needs aren’t met. Kids just aren’t as resilient as adults – even kids who never seem to complain. However, when they are hydrated and satiated and have dry clothes, children possess super powers of exploration.

Prepare for anything

This goes for any hike, whether a child is involved or not. Always make sure you pack the 10 essentials. Additional supplies for children are wet or dry wipes, lip balm, binoculars, magnifying glass, field guides (to show children plants, animals, etc.), a trail map, a camera, and safety whistles for each child (and teach them what to use them for and when to use them).

Choose the perfect time of day

For a hike in Transylvania with the kids, it’s important to time it right. Children can get tired quickly, so we believe that early in the morning, just after breakfast, or after lunch after they have slept through lunch are the best times of the day to hike. Then the children will have more energy and enjoy the experience to the full.

Before you go hiking, make sure you check the weather forecast. Inclement conditions can make things uncomfortable, scary, or even dangerous for kids, so dress for the weather and be prepared to head home if the skies turn dark and stormy. That’s why it’s important not to get too far away from your accommodation or car.

Choose the right clothes for hiking

If you’re used to hiking, you already know the golden rule: dress in layers. Especially for little ones, it’s important to have a change of clothes with you. Always take rain gear with you too. These are also a good option for wind protection. Don’t forget hats and gloves for everyone – even in summer, mornings can be chilly. Make sure your little hikers have appropriate footwear for the chosen route, depending on the terrain, this can range from sandals to hiking boots. In addition, pack a change of clothes for each child for the return trip – chances are the little ones will be wet or muddy on the return trip!

Don’t forget to have fun!

The key to a successful hike is to keep kids motivated and having fun – so why not combine both? Create games that you can play with your children on the trail. Have them look for signs of wildlife (footprints, bird holes in trees, furs) or count wildflower species.

At Valea Verde in Cund, Transylvania, in spring you’ll have daffodils and wild orchids for company, in summer the turrets will orbit the blue sky, in autumn you can go truffle hunting, and in winter the snow-covered hills and mountains are perfect for adventure. The surrounding area, about 100 km from the village, is also rich in natural beauty and cultural attractions (fortified towns, folk museums, etc.).

We are waiting for you at Valea Verde Retreat, in the heart of Transylvania, for your first hikes with your little ones.

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