Thursday, 14 October 2010

Ten Ways to Keep a Young Boy Happy on a Woodland Walk

'Can you take a picture of my beetle, Mummy?'  said Louis as we strolled in our secret Devon wood. ' Then you can use it on your blog'.  The afternoon did not get off to a good start.  Louis was in a colossol strop and I couldn't get to the bottom of its origin.  Time for fast action to avert a family outing disaster.  So I got my thinking cap on and reverted to some of the tactics below.  Result:  Sweet natured contented boy back on track!
  1. Take sweets or chocolate, lots of them to use as bribes to get him up a particularly steep hill or walk that extra few paces.
  2. Hide small treasures (aforementioned sweeties will do) along the route for him to find.
  3. Conceal yourself along the route too.  Hide and seek is a good incentive for moving ever onwards.  
  4. View bits of wood as potential weapons and allow him to test their power - within reasonable limits!
  5. Don't fret about mud and dampness.  In general small boys like to be wet and dirty.  They don't like to be too hot or cold so take suitable clothing.
  6. Allow him to eat the edible plants that you find.  Usual precautions about correct identification and avoiding poisonous plants/fungi apply, but surely, no-one could go wrong with blackberries when in season?  Look for woodland treasures such as conkers and spore producing puffball mushrooms too.
  7. Encourage him to find animals, dead or alive.  Go with the expectation that he might annoy the hell out of small insects and ants and pick up unsavoury objects.
  8. If paths are smooth-ish consider taking a scooter.
  9. Go 'off piste' and find your own secret paths to explore.
  10. Remember that children are easily distracted.  Plan to cover only a fraction of the mileage that you would on a grown up walk to allow time for 1-9 above!


    1. When my boys were younger we used to do a sort of treasure hunt in the forest. they had a list of thisngs they had to find or collect, then tick everything off on a list.
      Kept them quiet for hours

    2. Sounds good Sue. Will try next time