Catherine Allan is a Tour Development Executive from walking and cycling holiday specialist Macs Adventure. Here, she gives her top five tips for getting your children excited about the outdoors.
With recent findings from Persil showing that three in four children in the UK spend less time outdoors than prison inmates, it’s now more important than ever to stimulate their curiosity and engagement with nature. Here’s how you can get your kids active outside.
Go on an adventure together
If your kids aren’t into walking, try rephrasing it to appeal better to them: the word ‘adventure’ is sure to grab their attention.
This will be particularly effective if it’s a novel place where there will be plenty for them to explore. You could even use the opportunity to set a scavenger hunt challenge for them: fallen leaves, pebbles and grass blades will be easy enough to find, giving them a sense of achievement and enjoyment.
Get them involved with your cycling trip
No matter what their age, your child is never too young to begin an active lifestyle, so don’t be afraid to take them with you on a cycling trip. Choose flat terrains while they’re young, to get them used to riding confidently.
If you’re using a tandem bike, pretending they’re doing all the hard work and giving them regular praise will heighten their enthusiasm for the activity — you never know, it could even become a committed hobby for them in future!
Get them the right gear
They’re likely to have spied you pulling on your walking boots before you all head out, so why not make them feel special and get them their own activewear too?
Getting your kids properly kitted out will make them feel more involved, as well as encourage excitement about the activity: special clothes mean a special occasion.
Explore new areas weekly
Make it your mission to introduce your kids to a new area every weekend. But make sure these differ in their purpose and offerings. Woodland trails will teach them about nature and wildlife, whereas park visits will teach them how relaxing the outdoors can be. You could even take a map and compass and help them to direct you to the destination.
Build up their exposure to the outdoors
While you should encourage your child to be enjoying plenty of outdoor time, it’s not advised to do it all at once, or very suddenly! Take walks down to the shops or the park instead of getting in the car. This’ll prepare them for slightly longer trails you’ll eventually want to do as a family.
Exposing them little and often will always leave them satisfied with the day’s experiences, which will hopefully have a knock-on effect for the remainder of their lives.
Whether it’s a nature treasure hunt or taking a weekly walk to a new place, keep your kids’ interests piqued by the outdoors and away from technology, to ensure you have an all-round happier and healthier household!