Letting The Kids Take the Lead

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Rebecca, Family Ambassador

This year I have a goal. It’s to stop planning outdoor adventures with a specific destination in mind. I’m trying to enjoy the journey, not focus on the destination. When it comes to snowshoeing with kids sometimes this means that we never lose sight of our car in the parking lot. It also means that sometimes we snowshoe for three hours and never make it farther than half mile down the trail. I’m learning to be okay with that.
Because sometimes my children lead me off-trail where we break track through deep powder snow and make new discoveries in the forest. Other times they lead me right up a steep hill as we pretend to be mountain goats. Sometimes they crawl down a trail pretending to be puppies or snakes. More often than not our snowshoes take us across frozen pond, lake or down a frozen creek. And we always have fun.
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Here are a few tips to help let kids take the lead on family snowshoe adventures.

  1. Choose a trail with something fun to see or explore.
  2. Find a place where you can see wildlife or animal tracks.
  3. Tell the kids that they are in charge of picking the route, let them snowshoe in front of the adults, keep quiet and watch them lead.
  4. Let them explore off-trail, as long as its safe, kids will probably have more fun breaking track, going under tree branches and over fallen logs than they will on a perfectly manicured trail.
  5. Go snowshoeing at night. Kids will have a blast following the beam from a headlamp.
  6. Think of the snowshoe trek as outdoor play for everyone, not a serious speed and mileage quest.

Do you snowshoe with kids? What tips do you have for letting them take the lead?

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