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7 ways to get your toddler to enjoy family walks

In my opinion, a weekend well spent is one that involves time outdoors. I love nothing more than heading out with my family for a walk, exploring new places and and appreciating the beautiful countryside around me.

Arthur loves being outdoors and has surprised us on many occasions with just how far he's willing to walk. Because of this, we rarely take the buggy out, instead trusting that he'll make it, with perhaps a little shoulder ride when his legs tire. Though more recently (in this lovely stage of toddlerhood), we've noticed he can get a bit lazy and asks to be picked up a lot on walks. I'm talking two minutes in! Shoulder rides are his favourite (my poor partner) so we've had to come up with little ways to encourage him to walk further and enjoy himself. Here are a few of the tips and tricks we use for any other parents hoping to find ways to get their toddler or young children to enjoy family walks...

1. Make it an adventure

Instead of telling your toddler you're going out for a walk, tell them you're going on an adventure - it'll sound way more appealing and exciting!

2. Create a story

Is that a bear hiding behind the tree? Let's find him! Can you spot the dinosaur in the bushes? Shh be quiet, he'll hear you! Did you know the Nexo Knights are waiting for you at the castle? (Yep we've even done that one and then had to tell him they'd popped out for a bit and would hopefully see him at LegoLand next month. But he walked all the way and was a happy boy!) Make the walk exciting by telling a story or creating a character. Toddlers and young children have wild imaginations so use that to your advantage.

3. Take snacks or a picnic

Food bribes are always a winner! If it's a sunny day, pack a picnic to have half way round on your walk or if it's a shorter stroll, at the end. If the weather is looking a little uncertain, take snacks they can eat on the walk.

4. Go somewhere new

We love finding new places to go for walks. It makes it far more interesting for both us and for Arthur! It's far more of an adventure, if you don't really know where you're going or what you're going to find.

5. Get them to find objects

Treasure hunts are a great way to get kids interested in walking and being outdoors. At Easter we kept re-hiding two chocolate eggs that we bought out with us on our walk and Arthur had so much fun. One of us would run ahead and hide the egg, he'd find it, we'd put it back in our pocket to 'keep it safe' and then go and re-hide it again. It kept him entertained and he loved it so much, he still talks about it now!

In our village, people have started painting and hiding rocks. We have a Facebook group so parents can take a picture of the rocks their children find and then you're supposed to re-hide them for the next children to find. It's lovely for the kids and great for encouraging them to get outdoors for a walk. I know loads of other places in the UK are doing this too! It's really interesting seeing where some of the rocks end up. I know one from our village has already made it to London!

6. Involve water

I can't speak for all children but I know many toddlers LOVE water. Rainy day walks are great for muddy puddle jumping - just don't forget their wellies! Or if it's a hotter day, why not head to the beach for a walk or choose a route where there is a little lake or river they can paddle in? 

7. Don't make it too long

And my final tip is not to make your family walk too long! Remember, they've only got little legs so unless you're happy to carry them or push them in their buggy, you're not gonna be able to spend hours and hours walking.
What are your top tips for getting the kids to enjoy walks? Is it something you like to do as a family?

Megan x

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