Often a great way to get kids enthused about getting outdoors is to offer an incentive. This doesn’t have to be huge and the smallest of offerings can make the biggest impact. It can make a walk fun in the eyes of a child and turn a simple ‘blowing away of the cobwebs’ into an adventure. Here’s some ideas to help you get the kids asking to go out for a walk.
Bear hunting is a fabulous way to inject some fun into a walk. Just like the childrens book We’re Going on a Bear Hunt you can re-enact scenarios and bring them to life. Find tall grass that you can’t go around so you have to wade through, find dark woods which bears may reside in. A little imagination is a great thing to take on a walk with children.
You could even take a cuddly bear with you and hide some chocolate bears in your backpack to hide along the way for the kids to find.
Take a peek at Our Bear Hunt.
I used a potato to make a bear paw print maker. I then hid it in my pocket and stamped it into the ground whilst on our bear adventure walk for the kids to stumble upon.
Kids love feathers and you can always be guaranteed to find some when out walking, so turn it into a hunt! An old straw hat is perfect to wear on your adventure to poke your feathers into.
Take a look at OUR FEATHER HUNT and see how we made it extra special!
Make any walk fun by turning it into a frog hunt! Chocolate is fabulous to achieve this, and during the Spring time Freddo frogs are ideal to embark on a fun froggy themed toddler adventure.
If you head out on your walk towards the end of March/April then there’s a good chance you’ll find some frog spawn too!
(**Please do not remove any frog spawn from its natural environment and always ensure care and supervision is taken with children by the water.)
Before you go, fill your pockets with a handful of small chocolate bars and during your walk drop them for your child to stumble upon. It’ll keep them excited!
Take a look at OUR FROG HUNT. We found frogs!
(**If you are lucky enough to stumble upon a frog ensure you look with your eyes & not your hands as some species can be an irritant to the skin.)
Stick Man Hunt
Here’s how our STICK MAN ADVENTURE went!
This is always such a big hit with the children! Get them to turn their hands at becoming outdoor artists. Pack a pad of paper, some and some colouring pencils and find your view, a beach, a hill top, a sunset, etc.
You could even buy small portable paint packs with a paintbrush and take a plastic bottle of water and become real painters!
Here’s a look at OUR OUTDOOR ARTIST ADVENTURE.
Spring is a fantastic season of natural explosions of colour and is the perfect season to head out with your the kids to hunt for all the colours of the rainbow. It’s a sensory feast for little ones and a perfect excuse to get outdoors. And it’s easy!
Make a basic list of colours. It can be as easy as a red, blue, green and yellow. Use a piece of card put together to make a flip chart. Then head outdoors to find those colours.
See OUR RAINBOW HUNT toddler mini adventure.
A fabulous addition to a rainbow hunt is an egg carton to collect your colours of the rainbow.
Take inspiration from a book and use your imagination to recreate it!
That’s exactly what we did on our GRUFFALO HUNT.
Another idea to keep the kids enthused on walks is to set an ‘oldest rubbish’ challenge. Take a carrier bag with you and pick up any rubbish you may find, the challenge is to find the rubbish with the oldest date on it.
It also raises a little awareness with the children about decomposer/recycling etc….you’d be surprised how excited the kids get about the challenge ?
Take the rubbish you collect home and discard of properly.
Posh Cake Tea
Cake is a fabulous incentive to get outdoors & toddlers LOVE to make cake! Better still is that you don’t need an excuse to eat cake, you can eat it just because.
Turn it into a full days mini adventure: take walk to shop to buy your ingredients as children love to feel a part of the process and will proudly carry the ingredients home. Or just decorate a ready-made cake! Then all that’s needed is to bake/decorate your cake and head out to find a spot in the great outdoors to enjoy your ‘just because cake’ posh picnic.
A flask of hot chocolate in your backpack with a tin of squirty cream and sprinkles is always a great incentive on a walk.
Gold chocolate coins will turn any walk into a pirate adventure and kids love to randomly find them.
A couple of nets and a jam jar (or plastic container) will turn any walk into a bug hunt. Throw in a book to identify your bugs and the kids will have a great time searching out mini beasts.
Toddlers love a scavenger trail and they don’t have to be elaborate. A few simple drawings on a piece of cardboard are often enough.
Pull on wellies and raincoats and head outside. Here’s OUR SPRING HUNT mini adventures.
Things That Move Hunt
A ‘things that move’ hunt is ideal for children who love diggers, tractors, trains, and all things that move.
Make a list of things that move and head out to find them: tractors in fields, trains whizzing by and aeroplanes in the sky!
Here’s OUR THINGS THAT MOVE HUNT.
Dragon Egg Hunt
A dragon hunt is a magical adventure. All you need is a few hard-boiled eggs decorated and dusted with glitter and your set for a fabulous quest.
See how we did on OUR DRAGON EGG HUNT.
Decorative stones are great to fire up the imaginations of little ones. Watch their faces light up in awe as they stumble upon real jewels.
Message in a Bottle
Stumbling upon a message in bottle always goes down well with children and leaves them incredibly excited over their discoveries.
Here’s OUR MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE adventure.
Panning for Gold
A pocket full of gravel which you have spray painted gold is a brilliant discovery if you’re crossing streams. The kids will love bringing gold home from their days outdoor adventuring.
Fresh air and books are a great combination. Fill a basket with books, picnic blankets and cushions and head outdoors to find a find a spot to make your own story telling haven. This idea can bring books alive: the woods would be a great place to read the Gruffalo before searching for a log pile house or make your own Stickman before settling down to share the tale together.
We did a simple Letter Trail on the school run. It was very easy to set up and allowed us to have fun on the walk home.
No matter what you do to make being outdoors fun for children always remember that it’s the memories of being together that matter the most.
If a little bribery is what it takes to get the kids enthused about walking then you’ve nothing to lose and plenty of fresh air to gain.
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If you’re local to Wales then we’d love to have you sharing your outdoor hidden gems in our Family Days Local Exploration Group.