Adventure Walking with Tiny Feet
Updated: Apr 5
Adventure walks aren't actually a real thing - we just made that up to psych the kids up when they were small. Walks sound a bit boring but adventures are always fun!
When they were really young Master 4 would often bring his balance bike - which we'd usually end up carrying and Miss 2 would walk a bit or go into the Manduca (front-pack) or buggy when she'd had enough. A couple of things we learnt:
Purpose: to have an adventure, nothing else. If you only make it 5 minutes because everyone is distracted by a bird or a creek that's okay. If they start losing it wrap things up. We knew we wanted to get into big walks but we had to first make sure they loved it. Some of our best walks were just around the block, one time we found a bumble bee and another time we discovered an excellent tree to climb on the road curb.
Expect Fickleness: They're kids and the only predictable thing is their unpredictability. So they want to bring their bike? you'll probably end up carrying it. They say they're warm and don't need a jacket - pack it anyway. When they're really little we'd often bring the buggy plus a baby carrier so we could switch things around.
Toilet: Everyone goes to the loo before we leave the house, even if they say they don't need too they still have to sit on the toilet for a minute. It just becomes part of the house exodus process and saves on the "I need to go loo" two seconds after you leave.
Baby Carrier: We had a Manduca and found this invaluable when we had two little ones. We also had a really good Mountain Buggy. If a child's in a baby carrier for too long it can dig into their legs so it's important to check. If they're screaming they might actually be sore. It can also get hot (for everyone) so it's sometimes nice to have another option.
Let them Lead: Go on a street walk and let the kids decide which way you go. See if they can figure out how to get home.
Walk at Night: This is super fun in winter when it gets dark early. Sometimes we'd just walk around the block. Seeing all the lights and stars is pretty special when you're little.
Exciting Weather: You might look out the window on a miserable day and want to just stay inside but we found the more extreme (and miserable) it was the more our kids loved it. Donning gumboots, jackets and over-pants and finding the biggest puddles or mud slide, there's hail? thunder and lightening? snow? rainbows?... it just gets better and better and prepares them for tramping.
Take a Pocket Knife/magnifying glass/binoculars or little box to collect things along the way.
Play Games: setup challenges, how far can you walk, can you make it to the next corner without a carry, who can make it up the hill first.
Destination: Walking to a park, playground, beach, ice cream shop etc is a great motivator. We used to walk down to the train station most days to meet Dad off the train (it was about a 15 minute adult walk so 30 minutes for the kids). The delight of seeing him made it all worthwhile.