Tips For Going Bushwalking with Your Toddler or Preschooler
Going on a bush walk with your under fiver may sound like a huge challenge. However the benefits of going outdoors and having a sensory adventure is one that will provide a lasting and educational impression.
1. Take Baby Steps
Take it slow. No matter what the recommended trail time, always remember that with a young child this duration may be double. The best way to choose a bush walking trail is to pick an easy one that is normally less than 30 minutes. That way you can prepare to walk for at least an hour.
Even the most energetic little one will tire out easily, so be ready to carry him/her with a backpack carrier, or an all-terrain buggy if the trail is friendly enough.
2. Pack a Snack… and water!
Pack a healthy snack of cut fruit, vegetables sticks or bikkies for your little ones. They may graze the whole way through the walk to keep up their energy or you may want the snack to distract them when they’re at the end of their tether. Alternatively, if you’ve picked a bushwalking destination with recreational facilities, bring a picnic basket as a reward at the end of the walk.
It’s also very important to keep yourself and your little one hydrated. Never leave home for a bush walk without a bottle of water.
3. Dress appropriately
Check the weather and always be sure to dress yourself and your child accordingly. Loose cotton clothing if you’re bushwalking in summer. Layered and covered clothing if you’re walking in colder months of the year.
Regardless of season, always wear a hat and slap on sunscreen.
4. Plan around nap times
You know your child’s routine best. If he/she is more alert and active in the mornings, then plan your bush walk for first thing in the morning. What a great way to tire them out if they start as soon as they’re up for the day?
If you have a late starter, then aim to start after their mid-morning nap. Remember that some bush reserves or parks have closing times and may not be safe closer to sun down.
5. Bring along a little bucket or basket
Little ones love collecting small things so bring along a little basket or bucket and let them collect things on the way like small stones, sticks and leaves.
6. Take along a First Aid Kit
Even if you leave one in the car, it’s better to be prepared with a basic first aid kit for those little grazes or insect bites.
7. Let them take photos
If they’re old enough to hold a camera, look through the viewfinder and coordinate a button press – let them take their own snaps along the way of what they find interesting, you’ll be amazed at what they take. Shots from their height are pretty gorgeous.
8. It’s the journey not the destination
Remember with bushwalking – it’s the journey and not the destination that’s important. Slow down and walk at their pace, let your little explorer learn and experience their surroundings. Whether it’s to stop and smell the gumtrees, point out every pretty wildflower or play I-Spy with all the bugs that buzz past… This is their moment to see the natural world.
Don’t worry if you don’t get to your destination or finish the trail. Backtrack if you need to. But remember most importantly to enjoy your time with your little one.
WHERE TO GO BUSHWALKING?
We made it easy for you to go out on an adventure and picked out the easy and best bushwalking trails around Sydney.