I don’t know about you, but I have found that once my two little ones outgrew the buggy, it was increasingly hard to get out for a reasonable walk together as a family. They were starting to get too heavy to carry for any length of time and the only thing that seemed to work was either going somewhere we could take their scooters or go with friends who had similar aged children and they’d all entertain each other.
Do your kids get bored on a family walk, or need lots of nagging or continuously ask 'Are we there yet?'. We've found a super easy way to keep them entertained and happy. This means we now love our family walks again and can actually do 4 or 5 miles without any complaints...
This half term we tried something that we hadn’t done in a while and it worked wonders! The weather was slightly grey and muddy, so we headed to one of our local woods for a walk. BUT this time we had no grumbles at all and very excited children instead, as we came prepared with a Treasure Hunt!
Before we set off I sat down with my middle one (who is learning to spell) and she wrote out 7 simple, relatively generic ‘clues’.
We had things like:
- Look under the stones
- Check behind the thin tree
- Look on the tree trunk
- Look near the kissing gate
- Check under the bench
- Look in the leaves
- Look in the fat tree
You can download a pdf with a range of pre-made generic clues here and then you can simply print them and cut them out, if you like.
Then I packed a range of snacks and treats.
For each clue the children took turns to hide the treats and then to find them. We spaced them out along the walk so that they’d have something to do all the way around and some clues were harder to place than others – for example we couldn’t find a kissing gate or a bench for ages as we hadn’t done that walk in such a long time – luckily they turned up in the end!
The kids absolutely loved it and walked all the way. We walked for a good 4 miles in the end. In between the treasure hunt bits they collected sticks and stones, explored streams with us and we just chatted. It was really wonderful – and completely without the normal badgering and coaxing and carrying.
So even though it took a little bit of preparation it was very much worth it. Our snacks were mainly sweeties, and in future I think I’ll pack maybe some fruit treats or even cheese and peparami to keep them going, along with some sweets. It was great fun for my daughter too, to write the treasure hunt notes and she got 30 minutes of uninterrupted time with me, as well as pure writing and spelling practice without any fuss.
My oldest loved directing and helping to decide where the treasures should be placed, as well as the simple joy of finding the treasures together with his siblings. And my little man loved the puddles as well as all the treasure hunting of course.
Again, it seems, finding a playful way to ‘do the outdoors’ works wonders and I highly recommend it!
In summary, I think my 2 lessons learnt are:
The more generic the clues the better, then you can go most places and use them again and again.
Pack a range of treats and snacks – some to keep them going as well as sweet treats!
Do you go on walks with your little ones? If so, where do you go? If you are based in the South East, there is a great blogger in Tunbridge Wells who regularly shares child friendly local walks and outings in Kent and East Sussex on her site here: https://mytunbridgewells.com/walks-for-families-in-kent/
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