Monday, March 24, 2014

Fun game for kids on hike: Trail Handles

His trail handle is "Pointer." Photo courtesy of George Hodan.
Generally, exploring and discovery is enough for kids, but sometimes even they can grow bored with that and become restless. Remember that they naturally have shorter attention spans than adults.

Fortunately, there are lots of tried and true activities you can do on the trail that’ll keep kids from getting bored. Among them is Trail Handles.

Backcountry hikers who take long multi-month journeys along the Pacific Crest, the Appalachian and other trails often use “trail handles” to identify themselves. Usually these handles are based on experiences they’ve had or interesting animals they’ve seen while hiking.

During your day hike, have children come up with trail handles for themselves. They might base their handle on any of the following:
g Bird or other wild animal they’ve seen (Eagle, Falcon, Bear)
g Something they like to do on the trail (Skip, Trailblazer, Point Man)
g Special hiking skill they possess (Navigator, Weatherman, Hawkeye)

Trail handles shouldn’t be negative are derogatory but positive and uplifting, to encourage the child’s interest in and love for hiking.

Materials: None needed

Ages: 3 and up

Learn about more than a hundred other hiking diversions for kids in Hikes with Tykes: Games and Activities.