Trying to get the whole family out into the countryside for a stroll, never mind a hike, may be harder than you may think. Not only do we have to wait around for a dry day, but it’s also no fun if you feel like you’re dragging your kids out kicking and screaming. Yes, as parents, we are completely aware of how fun a walk in the countryside can be, but to a lot of children it just sounds as boring as cleaning their bedroom!
With this in mind, here are a few fun ideas that could change your child’s opinion of walking in the countryside for the better.
The first idea that we’re going to mention is probably the simplest idea too. Just taking a notepad and pencil for each child can open up a whole range of fun things that they can do while they’re on the walk. For example, they could be drawing their own little map of the walk as they go along. This will help them to pay attention to what is around them, but they will also have a little souvenir of the walk that they will be proud of and which they can show to their family and friends.
Crayons* are also a great thing to take. Children love taking the wrapper off of crayons and using the wide part to see the patterns that all of the different textures make, such as the bark on a tree, stone walls and leaves.
Depending on how much your children like art, they could also sketch the scenery when you sit down for a picnic. There is so much that they could do with just a simple notepad, pencil and, of course, a crayon.
The second idea is to pack an adventure backpack for your children. Now, this can be adapted to whatever you (the parent) is happy with and I say this because as a mum to two young boys, I know perfectly well how crazy and wild some of their ideas can be! However, giving my boys a back pack each full of all sorts of different things that they can use to explore the countryside is also a good way to keep them focused and less likely to race ahead to the edge of a cliff!
Some of the things that you might want to pack are:
- Magnifying glass
- Plastic tubs for all the little bits they want to bring home
- Snack and a drink
- Tape measure
- Some kid’s nature books*
- Notepad and pen
- First aid kit
With all of these items providing a different way to enjoy the countryside, I am sure that they will be entertained for quite some time.
The secret weapon
If you’re still not sure what to take, then there is a little secret weapon that I like which has already done all of the homework for you on how to keep children (and parents) entertained on a walk through the countryside. It is a book – or a little box with little books inside of it – called ‘Making Tracks*‘.
There are about 4 different books to choose from in this series that cover four different areas being The Lake District, The Peak District, The Yorkshire Dales and The North Yorkshire Moors.
We bought the one for walks in the Yorkshire Dales as it’s the area we visit the most. In this particular book there are 10 different walks to choose from, each with their own little booklet that you can take with you on your walk. The booklets are filled with wonderful illustrations of different parts of the walk which are aimed at children and highlight things to look out for in the area. There are also fun and educational little ideas of things to do on the walk, such as looking out for all the different creatures that you will find around the oak trees, and also teaching them about special landmarks in the area, the history behind them and where you will find them. They are actually so interesting that the whole family will enjoy using the booklets as you go along the walk.
You can pick one up for about £11.99 online, which I think is pretty reasonable as you get around 10 walks in each pack.
So, with the nicer weather just around the corner (I hope) why not plan ahead and try out one or more of these ideas to make walking in the countryside something that the whole family can look forward to.