Hiking with kids…20 tips to combat whining

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(While we adjust to having baby Jimmy here, we will be reposting some of our most popular and undiscovered posts.  We hope you enjoy them and we’ll be back in a few weeks when we reach some sort of “normal” around here.  This post was originally posted here.)

No matter who you are, or where you go, chances are you are if you hike with your kids, you’re going to encounter whining.  I’m no talking about the little complaints.  I mean the ‘oh my goodness if you do not be quiet right now  I swear I will leave you on this trail for the bears because you are making my head want to explode’  kind of whining.  We hike a lot with our kids.  I think that makes us experts…on whiny kids that is.  Yep, our kids are really really good at whining on the trail.  Out of necessity, we’ve gotten really good at getting them to stop!  Here are some of our top tips for getting your kids to stop whining.  Most of them involve some sort of distraction, cuz’ let’s face it, mostly the kids are just whining because they can’t think of anything better to do .

  1. Collect leaves (much easier than rocks!)
  2. Play I spy
  3. Sing a song
  4. Throw things in the water – rocks sticks, etc
  5. Tell a story (retell a whole Disney movie if you can’t think of one, they’re easy and LONG)
  6. Dance down the trail
  7. Have races
  8. When we get to the top of this hill, everyone gets a __________ (whatever you can find in your pack)
  9. Play a game of hide-n-seek
  10. Have the kids run ahead and hide to scare other people
  11. Guess what you will see next
  12. See who can hike best with a hiking stick
  13. Mix it up by only walking on logs and rocks
  14. Give your kid a stick to hit things with as they pass (like trees, not sisters)
  15. Play tag
  16. Everyone walk like a __(any silly animal)__until the next turn
  17. Bust out some bubbles (some advance planning required but well worth it)
  18. Stop and catch some bugs (check under big rocks)
  19. Try and ‘chase’ a bird down the trail
  20. Hold hands and make a train, complete with sounds
What do you do to distract your kids when hiking?  We’d love to hear your ideas!



About Jessica Averett

Hi, I’m Jessica, a mom of 5 kids and married to my favorite adventure partner. I love to bike, ski, camp and hike. We've visited over 40 countries with our kids, but are equally happy on the road as we are exploring our home state of Utah.

6 thoughts on “Hiking with kids…20 tips to combat whining”

  1. M is usually hungry when he starts whining so we always have snacks at the ready – apples, bananas, grapes, cereal bars, crackers, pepperoni are some of our favourites.

  2. Nice tips, when you are doing hiking with kids, then first of all you should pack many arts and crafts. It is very necessary because you never want to tell kids that you are going on hike. You need to create an imaginary world in front of kids, which is helpful for them to attract for hiking’s.


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