Frugal living and the great outdoors go hand in hand. Usually admission is low if non-existent. Little gear is required. And venues into which you mindlessly deposit your hard earned dollars are few and far between. Plus, watching a sun set over a mountain lake or a hawk soar over a Midwestern prairie develops a sense of awe and respect for mother earth. That is why my little family is working to incorporate more day hikes into our life. Inexpensive, healthy, and awe inspiring natural fun. And it is not impossible with small children.
Recently I read through Molly Absolon's book Backapackers: Hiking and Backpacking with Kids. Mine was a library loan, and not one I'll buy for my shelf. Her advice is basic common sense, but on this side of parenting I can benefit from her tricks to pull off hikes.
Being prepared is one, that seems obvious. Snacks are recommended, but nothing that brought new knowledge to my world. I did benefit from her discussion of games and songs that can motivate kids along a path. More than anything it reminded me of how great life can be on a hike, and taking kids is not out of the question.
Seasoned hikers with kids probably already know her tricks and recommendations, but for those looking for a bit of motivation, check out a copy from your local library. You can get what you need with about 1 hours focused reading time.