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English teacher interested in language and culture, and also in fiction using magic, myth, folklore and the supernatural. Now teaching part-time in a Leicester Upper School (ages 14-19) and also writing for children, teens and teachers.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Family Friday: top tips for walking with kids

We've taken our kids walking for several years now. The youngest was probably three when we started regularly walking as a family (she'll be eight in a fortnight). We're not enormous distance hikers - five miles is a long walk to us, and we probably more regularly do around three.

One of these has been helpful but you absolutely can enjoy family walks without one! (She's only been with us for a year, and is out first family dog.)

So, here are my top things that encourage kids to enjoy the great outdoors:

  1. Checklists of things to spot. This has easily been the most helpful single thing to get the kids involved. We have a book of family walks which helpfully includes checklists tailored to each route, but we also make out own for other walks. It's important for the list to be a mixture of easily-spottable things (depends on the route and sometimes the time of year, of course, but cows, acorns, swans are good standbys for us), specific features of particular walks (a windmill, a standing stone) and sometimes number-based challenges (how many herons can you see etc). 
  2. Snacks - ideally hidden ready to be produced at a 'flagging' moment. As well as the obvious boiled sweets, dried fruit is good. Water is, of course, essential.
  3. Stiles, brooks and livestock (ideally separated from you by a fence!). I could never have predicted the amount that stiles increase the fun of a walk by :) and paddling in or crossing a brook is also a joy. Spotting livestock is popular as well, but some kids are made nervous by walking through a cow or sheep field.
Do you have any to add?


  1. I don't have children, but I will pass these fab tips onto friends and family.

    Also, just stopping by to present you with a Versatile Blogger Award. You can find the details here http://mcrogerson.blogspot.com/2011/09/seven-random-things-about-me.html

  2. Excellent tips! You have covered all the bases, Beth. Snacks are always important! :-)

  3. My kids rarely come out on a walk with me now :( but when they were younger, snacks were essential! I didn't really think about getting them to spot things that much, but maybe they would have enjoyed the walk more if I had and still be coming with me now! LOL


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