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. Here’s one that can be used to teach map reading and navigation skills: Make a Map.
Give the child a clipboard with a piece of paper and colored pencils. As children hike the trail, have them create a map of the trail. When the hike is done, compare their map to an actual map of the trail. Discuss how accurate was their drawn map (Always be sure to point out the positives!) and what led to the inaccuracies (not counting off one’s pace to get the right distances, misperceptions about how elevation gain actually is less of a horizontal distance than it seems to be, etc.).
Materials: Clipboard, paper, colored pencils
Ages: 8 and up
Learn about more than a hundred other hiking diversions for kids in Hikes with Tykes: Games and Activities.