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By Clare Lewis and Becky JonesAuthors of Adventure Walks for Families in and around London (Frances Lincoln)

Clare Lewis and Becky Jones are on a mission to get children on adventure walks. They offer an exclusive insight into their methods

In this sedentary age of computer games and too much television, getting children out of the classroom and into the countryside is more essential than ever. Today’s children have perhaps forgotten how much fun it is to run around in the fresh air, climb trees and get muddy. They might also be surprised to discover just how many different and diverting things there are to do in the wild.

Adventure Walks book cover

To get the children enthusiastic about a day out in the countryside, you need to involve them in planning the trip. Inform them of what sort of things they might see and do, tell them stories about the countryside, and make a list of what they will need to bring (see Essential walk pack). Putting up identification charts of trees, birds, animal tracks and wild flowers is also an effective way to get them motivated.

Decide exactly what you will be doing on the day. In our book Adventure Walks for Families, we have based some of the walks on children’s stories – the real locations and the characters in them. Think of stories relevant to the place you are going to and take them with you – The Wind in the Willows for a riverside trip or Fantastic Mr Fox for a farm walk.

The countryside experience

Make the walk sound enticing by turning it into an adventure. For example, try a ‘listening walk’, where you stop at various intervals to see how many different sounds you can hear and even identify. Or take a ‘colour walk’ and record how many colours you can spot.

Use activities to break the walk up into different stages. Organise a scavenger hunt to gather things for a classroom nature table, practise tracking and trailing, build a shelter, sit around an imaginary campfire to tell a story or read a chapter from a book (see Things to do outdoors). Gather natural things to create works of art, such as leaf rubbing, making a hedgehog picture using twigs, seeds and leaves, or collect stones and paint them.

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