Resources for children

Foster an interest in walking and all the things to see and do while you are out and your children (or grandchildren) will pick up the habit for life.  Besides being a great way of maintaining health at any age, walking also has other benefits.

Relaxing and mood improving, going for an amble is far more calming than playing computer games and reduces stress and the symptoms of depression.  In the future will you fondly ponder images of your child huddled over a computer screen? How much better to share the memory of a picnic and game of hide and seek.

'But my kid hates going for a walk!' Of course they do, if it's seen as trial. Much better to get the kids clamouring for their next adventure. Here are some ideas and resources to make the prospect of a walk interesting.

Turn it into an adventure
Develop independence by giving your child the map to work out where to go next. Maybe hand draw the map and insert your own clues and landmarks. How about a treasure hunt? Or identifying and following animal tracks? Make the walk into an obstacle course, using every fallen tree and ditch as a challenge. Take a bag for each child and let them forage anything interesting to take home. Give them binoculars to scan the terrain, or take an even closer look at the surrounding plants to spot bugs.

Give them a camera
As soon as your child starts taking close up snaps they'll notice how interesting and varied animals and plants are. Print out the photos and let them complete a scrap book of their adventures.

Take a picnic
Cowboys on the trail, aborigines in the outback and tribes in the Amazon all do it. Any walk is always more memorable when you share food in open countryside. Pack a picnic blanket, maybe a few surprises. Check the weight. It'll be a lot lighter on the way back, but you've got to haul the picnic at least half way. Lighten the load by getting each child to carry their own lunch.

Play games
Perfect time for hide and seek after a picnic. How about tag, or statues?

Build a den
Sticks, fallen branches, logs, bracken and leaves are all great material for a secret hideaway. Lean bigger branches against a tree to build the frame. Once built, you'll be surprised how keen the kids are to return to see how the den is faring and make repairs. An alternative for young children is to build a fairy house.

Take a checklist or experiment sheet
Here are links to some great resources to print out and take with you, courtesy of Wildlife Watch and The Wildlife Trusts.

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