Walking with children

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It's great for children to get outside and experience the sights, sounds and smells of a national park landscape. Here are our top tips for walking with children, to keep everyone happy.

Pick your route

  • If you're taking a buggy, look for routes with no stiles and a firm footpath with no muddy sections.
  • Streams, rivers, woods and small summits make a route more interesting than just a flat straight path.
  • If possible, pick a route with optional short-cuts to use if little legs get tired.
  • How about a trip on a boat, a train, or a bus as part of your adventure? 

Be practical

  • Make sure children have the right clothing - layers are good to stop them getting too cold or too hot. A waterproof for if the rain comes out of nowhere. And proper shoes or boots to stop sore feet and blisters.
  • In the summer: a sunhat and suncream to stop delicate young skin burning, and extra drinks to keep cool and hydrated.
  • In the winter: extra layers, a warm hat, spare gloves and a warm drink in a flask.
  • Plenty of snacks and drinks, ones they can eat on the move as well as a picnic.
  • Wet wipes and spare plastic bags for mess of any description!
  • A small first aid kit with blister plasters and antiseptic cream.
  • Some spare clothes, either with you or available in the car or when you get back.
  • Know where the nearest public toilets and caf├ęs are.

Make it fun!

Thanks to our Twitter followers for their great tips on keeping everyone smiling:

  • It's not a walk. It's an adventure, or an expedition, or a treasure hunt or monster spotting or... (from @juliesherratt).
  • Don't have a strict agenda, let your walk be child-led, let them be 'noticers' (from @goingitalone) and have chats and pauses along the way (from @HeiressMommy).
  • Think of games to play along the way, things they can do and achieve. 'I spy', hide and seek, things to spot, things to collect, things to hear. Different coloured or different shaped leafs, stones, 'treasures' to collect in a special bag, or ones that match the colours of each item of their clothing (from @PatrickNorris1 and @CumbriaGraham).
  • Get them to do the map reading, what landscape features can they use to help them?
  • How about GeoCaching - turns a walk into a digital treasure hunt! (from @BIFoRUoB).
  • Get them to take photographs of the best bits of their adventure - they might surprise you with what they choose! 
  • Dress them ready to get dirty and let them jump, splash, clamber and explore.
  • And probably most importantly, have fun yourself, don't keep checking your watch or phone, engage with nature and they will too (from @ryanjohnscott and @M_Z_Harrison)

Let us know your tips for fun walks and the best places you've found: