10 ways to get younger kids outdoors on the sly

toddler girl playing outdoors

Do your little ones leap off the sofa when you suggest trading Mr. Tumble for a stomp in the fresh air? If not, Mumsnetters have a few tricks up their sleeves

Point out nature's exciting bits

mother child walking outdoors

“When walking, we look out for things like the buds on the trees, or the changing of the leaves in autumn. We listen for the first woodpeckers in spring: simple pleasures that foster an understanding of nature as the seasons turn.”

Go superhuman on them


“We pretend to be superheroes (well, I'm usually the supervillain). It involves a lot of running, climbing and pretending to zap each other.”

Try horsing around

child horse

“My first love was horses, and our granddaughter is now discovering the joy of combining fresh air, exercise and the love of an animal – unbeatable.”

Put your hands in the muck


“Growing our own food gets my son outdoors every time: he loves planting seeds, watering them and checking to see if they are growing.”

Delve into the underworld

bug hunting

“We play this game on our walks where we turn over logs and big rocks and 'spot the bug'. We identify their main characteristics and which bug family they belong to (insects, arachnids, millipedes etc). You'd be amazed what you can find under there.”

When it comes to incentives, use every weapon in your arsenal

hot chocolate

“Know where the nearest cafe is. 'Come on chaps, if we just walk up and over this mountain, I'll get you a hot chocolate on the other side.'”

…including big sticks

child outdoors forest

“I always found that letting them lead the way with a big stick was the best way to keep up enthusiasm during a long walk.”

…and a campfire dinner

campfire dinner

“Pack a rucksack equipped with gas camping stove (and spare gas), a firelighter, saucepan, and some plastic crockery and cutlery, and have a go at making a simple meal. This could be a mid-week adventure if you head off straight after work and school to a nearby location that offers something of interest to the kids (eg a skatepark, river etc),” say the Meek family, authors of 100 Family Adventures.

Be equipped for anything – and everyone

family walks

“My daughter has a medical condition that affects her mobility from time to time, so we take her in the walking backpack or on her smart trike, so she doesn't miss out.”

If all else fails, tell them there's a screen involved

boy geo caching

“Get into geo-caching – treasure hunts in the great outdoors. You can get the app on your phone and use it to find caches that other people have hidden.”