How to Foster a Love for Hiking in Your Toddler Tips from Experienced Parents

Hiking is a fantastic way to enjoy nature and stay active. But how do you instill a love for hiking in your toddler? Here are some insights and tips from experienced parents on how to make your 3-year-old child love and enjoy hiking.

Foster Intrinsic Motivation

One parent, AldusPrime, emphasizes the importance of fostering intrinsic motivation in your child. Instead of using rewards as a motivation to hike, allow your child to discover the joy of hiking on their own. This can be achieved by giving them autonomy during hikes, such as letting them choose the path or spend time observing nature. Also, ensure they feel competent by choosing hikes that are within their ability level.

Start with Small Hikes

VerdantField suggests starting with small hikes and not reprimanding the child for getting tired or curious about things off the trail. The key is to make the experience enjoyable and not exhausting.

Make Hiking an Adventure

Life1sart shares that making hiking an adventure catered to the child’s needs can make the experience more enjoyable. This could include allowing the child to find treasures, having picnics, and letting them play in the sand and mud.

Use Scavenger Hunts

Electrical_Wolf_7604 suggests making hiking fun by incorporating scavenger hunts. This could involve looking for pine cones, flowers, snails, or anything else that might be found on the trail.

Be Patient and Positive

Peanutz1 emphasizes the importance of patience and positivity. They suggest planning hikes when the child is most energetic and keeping the experience positive. Over time, the child may start to see hiking as a fun activity rather than a chore.

Accept Your Child’s Preferences

UnderstandingTime685 reminds us that it’s important to accept your child’s preferences. If your child doesn’t enjoy hiking, it’s essential to respect that and try other activities that they might enjoy.

Make Hiking Interesting

Diidvermikar suggests making hiking interesting for the child by focusing on the things they can find and look at during the hike. This could include teaching them about nature, making wooden whistles, or looking at birds.


Making your 3-year-old child love and enjoy hiking is not about forcing them to like what you like. Instead, it’s about creating a positive and enjoyable experience that allows them to discover the joy of hiking on their own. By incorporating these tips into your hiking trips, you can foster a love for hiking in your child and create lasting memories together.

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