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The best hikes with children are short, interesting hikes that keep the children interested and make them want to come back outdoors again. Remember, you should gear the hike to your youngest child's abilities. A child aged 2 to 4 can only hike about 1/2 mile to a mile or two, so don't expect them to hike for hours.
Kids like to stop every few minutes to rest and explore, plan for breaks about every 15 to 20 minutes. Pick easy, flat trails, especially in the beginning, and leave the strenuous trails for their older years.
Another way to keep the children's interest is to take self-guided nature hikes, where they follow a map and find different locations on the map. This keeps them interested, and they'll learn about the natural world at the same time. The best hikes with children are the hikes that make them want to go back and do it again!