During Lockdown 1.0 we made sure to get out for a walk together most days. Fresh air and some exercise can completely flip a stressy feeling day. We always feel better once we’ve been out. This time we have daily school runs but it’s still great to get out for a walk at the weekend.
We love a walk along the beach or in our local woods but we don’t always want to jump in the car. Often we simply want to quickly get out of the house. Like many families we have discovered lots of new paths and places to walk right near our home. We have walked around here A LOT and though we have enjoyed watching the seasons change it can all get a bit samey. So adding in the odd challenge helps to bring some fun into our walks.
The problem is getting the stressy kids out in the first place!
Usually the person dragging their heels the most is our eldest, aka our preteen Archie. 10 years old going on stroppy teen who always wants to stay at home! I find myself repeating the same sentence over and over again – “You always have fun once we are out!” He knows it, we know it, yet the same battle is fought. Every. Single. Time.
He’s not wanting to stay home to play video games – the gamer of our family is Luke (9) and he tends to be up for the trips out surprisingly. His pleas for “5 more minutes” could fill up an entirely different blog! No, Archie is our creative soul. He’s always drawing, writing stories and working on new lego creations. He LOVES to be at home. But as I said, without fail he will enjoy our trip out. It’s the getting him out that starts the arguments.
So how do you encourage a child to get out in nature with their family? Fun Challenges!
Anything that gets siblings battling against each other seems to work in our house. Finding things, collecting things, you get the idea. They will fight for the right to label themselves the best at any opportunity!
The Leaf Challenge
Find the biggest leaf, the smallest leaf and the most colourful leaf. Note that we have 3 children – 3 things that I’ll be judging, likely they will each win a challenge. Just preempting future arguments here! The moment I mentioned this the once snail paced 10 year old practically jumped into his shoes and was first out the door. No mention of bribes… I mean prizes. Just the challenge of finding something better than his younger siblings!
At the weekend our neighbours challenged us to create photos to represent scenes in films. We sent them over and had to guess each one. We created some at home but we decided to include some creativity on our walk. As an outdoor photographer I love to make a location work for me, so seeing a similar spark in the imaginations of our children was great to witness.
The Create A Scene From A Film Challenge
Go for a walk around where you live. Use what is around you to create little scenes from your favourite films. Take some photos and send them to your family. Or challenge your family or friends to do the same and get to together on a video call later to share your photos! We had so much fun doing this, I hope you do too. No fancy camera needed, just your phone and your imagination.
You could get really creative with this if you wanted to, even including their favourite dressing up outfits. For us we just wanted to keep things simple – Plus it was a last minute, in the hallway, moment of desperation, let’s get out the door idea! We used the gates for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Then April had the idea of coming out of this tree area to pretend she was coming through the wardrobe and seeing Narnia for the first time!
When we spotted the steps at a local closed restaurant I couldn’t resist a little Dirty Dancing scene – Not so flexible these days! Then we got home and Luke wanted to make the scene from Home Alone with Kevin and the wet bandits!
There are so many last minute things you could decide to do. Anything to make you life easier and less moany eh?! Here are some more ideas to get you started. We would love you to tag us on instagram if you use any!
Who can run fastest to the next lampost?
Who can do the most hops to the end of the street?
Collect the most acorns, pine cones or small leaves.
And if nothing works, you could always bribe them with the promise of a hot chocolate with marshmallows when you get back or some screen time!