Walking is a fantastic way to enjoy the beautiful outdoors and here at BookMyTrail we believe it’s something the whole family can enjoy together. It’s free, it can be completely spontaneous and it’s a fantastic opportunity to get your children outside, enjoying the beauty of nature. What’s not to love? Below we have compiled some of the best ways to keep younger ones entertained whilst hiking, to help inspire you and contribute to a relaxing and stress-free day. From sleeping outdoors, to eating S’mores, our list below has you completely covered.
Create a scavenger hunt.
Kids love collecting things and what better way to keep them entertained on a daytime hike through the countryside than a scavenger hunt. Research the area you will be walking through ahead of time and create a list of fun and exciting items for them to find. They will relish the opportunity to get excited about it and be raring to go when the day comes.
Capture your memories.
Make sure you take a camera with you to capture the beautiful scenery you will be hiking through, as well as any funny moments that might occur. Once you are home you can spend time as a family sorting through your pictures and creating scrapbooks of the best ones. Why not invest in an inexpensive camera for older children and allow them to do this themselves?
Teach them the local history.
Many walking trails will have elements of local history that you can research and relay to your kids as you discover it together. This is especially good for slightly older children who may take more of an interest, and if this is something that really appeals to them why not plan a day out to a specific area of interest. Hadrian’s Wall is a prime example, but there are sites all across the UK that possess a rich heritage just waiting to be discovered.
Follow the leader.
For each hike you take pick a ‘leader’ and have them lead the way at different points of your walk. Give them decisions to make, such as which path to take at a fork and where to stop for lunch, to give them a sense of importance and excitement.
Let them choose.
Involve your kids from the beginning and let them choose your hiking route (within reason!). The National Trust website is a fantastic source of inspiration for days out all over the country and very user friendly. Sitting down as a family and picking your day out together will ensure you are all looking forward to it and letting your kids take the lead is a fantastic way to support their decision making and boost their confidence, as well as making sure you are all getting as much enjoyment out of your hikes as possible.
Create interest in the outdoors from a young age.
If you keep your kids in contact with the outdoors on a day-to-day basis they are far more likely to develop a healthy attitude towards, and interest in, nature, as they grow older. Outdoor nurseries, such as The Enchanted Garden Day Nursery are becoming more popular in the UK and are an ideal way of creating healthy attitudes towards the outdoors through their focus on fresh air and outdoor learning. They create a healthy environment where children can experience the freedom and simple joy of spending time outside, adventuring in ‘the wild’.
Take a camping trip.
Kids LOVE camping. No matter where it is, what the weather is like, or how long it takes to get there, there’s always something intrinsically exciting about a camping trip when you’re a kid. Bedding down in a sleeping bag outside never gets boring and pretty much anything that has been toasted over a fire tastes amazing. (If you’ve never tried them put S’mores at the top of your list straight away – you can thank us later.) Although family camping trips require a little more planning than your standard day out, they are a great way of getting away relatively inexpensively and enjoying some quality family time together. Websites like Get Out With The Kids have some fantastic tips on how to plan your perfect camping trip, as well as handy tips for keeping the kids entertained and fantastic recipe ideas for your campfire.
Make it fun.
The best way to interest your kids in hiking is to make it fun for them! However you do this is ultimately up to you, but think about what your children enjoy and try to create a trip that will provide fun for all of you. If they are having fun, then it goes without saying that you are too.