Many children love to hike, but occasionally they will complain. At these times, distractions are key!
One tip is to always try to bring a hiking partner (other than a sibling) of a similar age for your child. Kids love to hike with other kids and to make discoveries together. Each child distracts the other and before they know it, they've spent an hour walking.
Another tip is to bring a few crayons or "paint chips" (samples) from your latest home improvement project and ask the kids to find something in nature during the hike that matches the color exactly. Can it even be done? Can we create the colors we find in nature?
Before a long hike, tell the story of the hiker with the hole in his or her pocket who drops coins, usually pennies but maybe even a quarter, on the trail. Kids will keep their eyes open looking for coins and spot scat (wild animal poop), beetles and other creatures while hiking. It's usually possible to drop the coins without the kids noticing, especially when you pretend to find one yourself first.
On shorter hikes, play "Freeze Bird," stopping immediately when you hear a bird. Your child will be so busy listening and getting many mini breaks, they'll forget about asking when the next water break is.
Most of all, try to remember what it was like to be a child and never stop being amazed at the wonders of nature. Enjoy your hike!