Do you long for the days when you could just decide to go for a walk (possibly taking in a pub en route), pop your boots on and meander the afternoon away? There are days when persuading your ‘threenager’ to go on a walk feels like an impossible challenge. Here’s how we do it, Little Explorer style.
This took a little planning but it didn’t take long to set up.
Our three tricks here are – gather lots of outdoors equipment, distribute important jobs to your tribe of walkers and know when to call it a day. Don’t plan a six-hour hike – keep it real and give those little legs an achievable challenge.
Gather all the outdoorsy kit you can find – head torches, map cases, compasses, bags, mini first aid kits and emergency foil blankets (for fun) and distribute these among your adventurers. This way everyone has an important role to play.
Print out maps of your area using Google Maps, footpath maps or street maps depending on your route. The great thing about this activity is that it is completely mouldable to the age of the children involved. You can show older ones how to use a compass, explain contour lines or map symbols. You can tell the littler ones how to plan an easy route and overlay it on the printed map using colourful pens.
Another trick is to hand-draw a map of your route, marking hills, boggy paths and other features like a fallen tree with mushrooms growing on it, or perhaps an abandoned hay bale. You can get the Little Explorers to practice their reading, and the youngest to look for the real object in comparison to the drawn representation.
Depending on the weather (ie if it is not raining) you could mark extra features on the map as you go.
We added a sprinkle of magic to the adventure by calling an old highway marker a ‘wishing button’ which you have to press with your bottom to make a wish, and an old hay bale became Gruffalo bedding. The Little Explorers made up their own narrative too which was far more imaginative!
Don’t leave without emergency snacks and a thermal mug of hot chocolate to pep up any flaggers!
Expert Explorers: Did you know that the earth has a huge magnetic core running through its centre? A compass works because all magnets have two poles – a north and a south. The north pole of one magnet is attracted to the south pole of another. So, the north pole of the compass magnet is drawn to line up with the earth’s magnetic core. The compass pointer is very lightweight and magnetized, and mounted on a pivot inside a small cylinder filled with liquid so it moves easily.