Hikes with Tykes: Games and Activities- Rob Gives Us The Dirt

Book cover, “Hikes with Tykes: Games and Activities”

Rob Bignell gives us the dirt behind his new book, Hikes With Tykes: Games and Activities.  I caught up with Rob for a quick author interview.

Rob, you’ve just released your second book in your Hikes With Tykes series, Hikes With Tykes: Games and Activities.  In this book, you focus on keeping kids amused while day hiking- from games to crafts and you even add in some healthy snacks.   The book focuses exclusively on day hiking.  What exactly is a “day hike”?  A day hike is when you start to walk sometime after the sun has come up and return home sometime before the sun has gone down.  It usually only lasts a few hours.  Some serious hikers like to take their children with them into the backcountry, staying out overnight in the deep woods as they hike for several days.  That’s not viable for a number of parents, but day hiking is.  Any stay-at-home parent can plan an afternoon day hike with their children.  Any working parent can go on a Saturday hike with their kids.

Absolutely.  But before people set out for a hike with their kids, share with us a mistake that most novice hikers frequently make.  They don’t bring something that is absolutely necessary, usually water, a map, or a first aid kit.  They think that since their day hike won’t go very far or take very long, that they can dispense with carrying some of that stuff.  What many novice hikers don’t grasp is that they’re going out into the wilds; unlike a city street, there’s no running water anywhere, no street signs to provide directions, and paramedics often are an hour or more away.  You need to carry the most basic comforts of civilization with you.

Photo credit Rob Bignell

A good first-aid kit is one of the essentials of a day hike. A homemade kit can be assembled from common items found in most medicine cabinets.

Where would you recommend that people hike?  National and state parks by far offer the best scenery.  Don’t forget national forests or national natural landmarks, though.  National landmarks are particularly impressive and little known, so you’ll be able to get away from it all for a while and be awed.  But really any place that your children enjoy hiking is worth going back to over and over.

I noticed that the book doesn’t urge parents to make kids “tough it out.”  How did you come to have that philosophy?  You have to know your kid’s limits.  It’s simply unreasonable to ask them to walk as far as you can and to maintain your pace – unless they’re teenagers, of course, in which case they’ll probably be able to walk farther and faster than you.  Yes, it’s okay to urge your child to walk a little longer and to have him test his or her limits.  There’s just no need to turn the hike into a death march for them.

I really like your philosophy.  And I guess that’s where your new book really comes in handy.  Rather than turning hikes into something that your kids will dread, your book Hikes with Tykes: Games and Activities lists more than 100 diversions and provides anyone taking kids on a day hike with loads of amusements to keep children from getting unruly or bored.  And you even provide something for every age group.  Fantastic!

Rob, thanks so much for stopping by the blog today.  I know you are very busy with the new release of your book.

I’ll see ya around the campfire.


To order Hikes with Tykes: Games and Activities, click here.

“Hikes with Tykes” author Rob Bignell with his son Kieran atop the Vetter Mountain Lookout Tower, Angeles National Forest, Calif. (Aug.2009)

Rob Bignell is a long-time journalist, editor and hiker.  He and his son Kieran have been hiking together for the past four years.  Before Kieran, Rob served as an infantryman in the Army National Guard and taught middle school students in New Mexico and Wisconsin.  His newspaper writing has won several journalism awards, from editorial to sports reporting.  In 2001, The Prescott Journal, which he served as managing editor of, was named Wisconsin’s Weekly Newspaper of the Year.  Currently he is CEO and owner of Inventing Reality Editing Service.  He lives with his son in Southern California.

Photo Credit for all the photos in this post: Rob Bignell.

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  1. I want this book :D Thanks for sharing. I love your philosophy and it’s so close to ours – we all have to be happy (on and off the trail) or what’s the point?

  2. Thanks for your comment Suzi.

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