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Banff with young kids?

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Chicago, Illinois
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Banff with young kids?

Hi, our family is planning a trip to Banff around the end of June/early July. We have two young kids, who will be turning 2 and 5. Would you say there are enough activities/easy hikes for kids this young? We were thinking of staying about a week..Thanks in advance!

Banff, Canada
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for Banff, Banff National Park
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1. Re: Banff with young kids?

Hi ChicagoTrav, and welcome to these forum! A good starting point for you would be the Top Question about travelling with kids. You can find the Top Questions at the top right of your screen.

Vancouver, Canada
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2. Re: Banff with young kids?

Kids that age are amazing and can find things to interest them everywhere. I think the key is to not try to work to a grown-ups schedule and be "destination oriented".

Kids are the masters of small discoveries every step of the way and will show you amazing things you never would have seen if you let them. They will make fortresses out of rock piles, wings out of fallen leaves and spend ages watching ants or examining a small flower. I really believe the key to enjoying these sorts of trips with kids that age is to try to work to their scale. They will be utterly unimpressed by sweeping mountain views and beautiful lakes, but totally enthralled by the colour, shape and feel of a small rock they found. If you can share their level of observation, I think everyone will probably have a better time.

If, rather than trying to figure out how you are going to entertain your kids, you allow and encourage them to discover and play, and let go of the need to hike the trail or get to a particular viewpoint, then you will find endless hours of things to entertain all of you.

Vancouver, Canada
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3. Re: Banff with young kids?

Additionally, simple natural history guides can be fun. Kids enjoy looking through a short list of pictures to try and match it to something they found. Check at the Banff Visitor Centre for some suggestions for any simple guides to mountain flowers or trees.

Hudson Valley
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4. Re: Banff with young kids?

Vancouverite hit the nail on the head! My daughter is five and we've been hiking/camping/traveling with her since she was an infant. Let her throw rocks in the water or dig in the dirt with some sticks and she's happy. Get out on the trail and let them explore, take a picnic, etc. The kids will be fine. :)

For five year old, a scavenger hut might be fun (different trees to spot, a trail sign, different size rocks, birds, insects, etc) or a cheap point and shoot or kid's camera. When we hike with our daughter we also play a lot of word games/quizzes/tell stories.

Edited: 06 March 2013, 20:38
Chicago, Illinois
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5. Re: Banff with young kids?

Thank you everyone for your replies! This gives me a new perspective on our trip and less stress about planning as well... Thanks!!

Hudson Valley
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6. Re: Banff with young kids?

Definitely don't stress. I think young kids are pretty easy to please. Oh, and some special trail snacks always help too. :D

Jasper, Canada
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for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
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7. Re: Banff with young kids?

Ha! Pudgy, I think you've been taking my parenting advice. LOL I have often written about how my kids would hike forever, as long as they had some (normally forbidden) junk food to look forward to as part of a "picnic".

Chicago, you may want a backpack carrier for your 2-yr old, especially if s/he is closer to 2 than 3 (or just stick to stroller-accessible trails, then when you little one is tired, you can wheel him/her), but if closer to 3, you may be surprised how far your kids can go. (My younger daughter was tough as nails, always trying to keep up with her older sister.) Mine did their first backpacking trip at 3 yrs 5 mos. and 6 1/2, with both of them walking the entire way, since we two adults had very full packs with everything for the four of us. We did an overnight trip, 7 km in, then another couple of km after dinner to an area with some fun boulders to climb on and rocks to throw in a stream, and then 7 km out the next day. The next year, at 4 and 7, they did 35 km over 3 days, 10, 15 and 10 km, including a hefty elevation gain. They were actually better hikers (more willing, anyway) at that age than they were ten years later.

As small kids, mine also always loved just playing in nature... balancing on logs, throwing stones in water, pretending to be mountain climbers on boulders, drawing in the sand or dirt with sticks etc. Kids don't get much out of scenery and scenic vistas; they need to experience nature more "hands on". I think V67 has expressed it really well.

8. Re: Banff with young kids?

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