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:
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.