Make Outdoorsing Fun and Engaging for Young Children - @Sophies_adventures__
by Joel Peart on Feb 10, 2023
Hiking with Kids
Hiking with kids can be a joyful experience, but will often include an element of reluctance, particularly as the day goes on or as the adventure turns into an uphill struggle…literally and figuratively!
Outdoor Family Activities
When we first had children, we thought our weekends of hiking would be on hold for a good few years. Missing the adventure though, we finally plucked up the courage to take our toddlers on a local hike - a proper outdoor family activity. However, we didn’t fully anticipate how often we would have ‘tired legs’ and questions of ‘are we there yet?’
Outdoor Activities for Kids
There are tons of outdoor activities for kids, you just have to use your imagination! Thankfully, with my experience as a teacher and mother of two stubborn children, I have compiled a list of tips and tricks to get little reluctant walkers moving, exploring and enjoying the great outdoors.
- Walking is a wonderful way to exercise, and it also gives the perfect opportunity for children to explore their surroundings and develop a sense of adventure and independence. Hiking does not have to be strenuous; a trip to the park or the local wildlife reserve is free, fun and educational and can be enjoyed in all seasons.
- Before any adventure, my children love to pack their own rucksacks with healthy snacks, waterproofs, and drinks. This always builds a sense of excitement; packing for an unknown journey!
- Encouraging them to ‘lead the way’ can give youngsters a sense of being in charge and allow them to set the pace and, depending on their age, aid them with essential navigational skills such as looking for features and landmarks. Why not make a child-friendly map of the journey before you go and mark off the stops along the way?
- My daughter has recently started to make a scrapbook to document our adventures together as a family; she loves to take my old Polaroid camera and capture (and pose) for photos along the way. When we get home we glue in different objects, leaves, tickets etc. that she has found on the journey as a way of chronicling our family time.
Exploring Nature with Children
Journey maps are a fantastic way to keep children engaged on walks and help them to remember their adventures afterwards. Simply tie objects found during their ‘expedition’ to a stick. This could be feathers, pretty leaves or any other little treasures to remind them of their journey!
Treasure hunts are also a fun and engaging way to keep children motivated and immersed in their adventure. Spring themes could include daffodils, lambs and even the odd chocolate egg, with pine cones and auburn leaves in the autumn.
Obviously…there are also snacks. Healthy snacks are essential for walking with children, regular stops are great to refuel and enjoy some gorgeous scenery!
Benefits of Outdoor Play on Children's Health
If you are thinking about getting your family out walking, why not try a few short walks to start with and build up your confidence? By getting out regularly, you can instil a lasting love for the great outdoors, nature and wildlife and make some happy memories along the way!
Plus, your children will reap the other health benefits of outdoor play whilst doing so.