Family outings in lockdown: Ideas to make them even more fun for kids

Save their little legs and get kids excited about nature with our pick of wheels, cameras and print-outs

Tara Breathnach
Friday 08 January 2021 13:03
<p>With everywhere shut down, a nature walk near home is one family activity you can still enjoy</p>

With everywhere shut down, a nature walk near home is one family activity you can still enjoy

With another national lockdown in full swing, it can be hard to find things to do to occupy the family, especially when there’s a weekend ahead.

If you’re homeschooling, and maybe working from home yourself too, everyone in the household has likely had their fair share of sitting in front of screens.

So, if the weather’s not too miserable, a family walk could be just what’s required to blow the cobwebs away and get some much-needed exercise.

Sometimes little ones need a distraction (and some encouragement) to get those feet moving, and young legs get tired easily.

But worry not: we have some great ideas to get the kids excited about a family outing and eager to do it regularly. 

Get inspired with our picks of products for before, during and after your household excursion.

You can trust our independent round-ups. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.

Bikes

If you have a really young child, aged between two and three, a balance bike is a great way to get them started on two wheels, and will add some interest to your outing.

This junior balance bike (£59.99, Kiddimoto) made it into our round-up of the best balance bikes of 2020.

It’s great if you have really young kids, as it’s designed for riders from 18 months.  

Our reviewer rated it highly, saying: “This ‘super junior’ design is the most popular and affordable bike in the range, weighing just 3kg, making it super easy for kids to ride and manoeuvre themselves. The frame design is not only stylish but also ergonomic, which makes it the perfect fit for little arms and legs.”

If you have older kids, something like this Mongoose switch R50 BMX bike (£180, Halfords) is a good investment.

Our little testers of the best kids’ bikes – aged six and 13 – both loved it, meaning it’s one that should last as your child grows.  

For the necessary accessories, you can consult our guide to the best kids helmets, where we recommended this Met crackerjack model.

Scooters

Perhaps you reckon a scooter could be more suitable for wherever you’re going, in which case there are so many good ones out there that you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Testing the best scooters of 2020, our reviewer picked out this well-priced Ozbozz my first scooter (£19.99, Amazon) for those over two-years-old.

“The four wheels promise extra balance and can be reduced down to three and then two wheels as your child’s confidence and ability grows. It folds down and comes with a tool kit for assembly,” they noted.

Do be aware that this is a first scooter, and therefore not designed to grow with your child. “But,” our tester said, “it is the perfect option for learning how to scoot as it is not too fast due to the heavier steering. There isn’t a brake on it, so the child will need to use their foot to slow down.”

For older children, something like this sprite classic (£99.95, Micro Scooters) is a decent investment that will last a long time, from roughly ages five to 12.  

“We love the little kickstand to keep it upright between scoots and to keep it from scuffing against walls or laying on the floor waiting to trip us up,” said our reviewer, adding: “Even though it is super light, it feels robust. The brand also replaces parts, so this is a long-lasting buy. It came in a sleek box already assembled.”

Nature sheets

To get your children excited about what they might see on their walk, why not print out some animal sheets to colour in before you go?  

Educational website Twinkl, which featured among our best online resources for homeschooling, has a whole section featuring squirrels, beetles, butterflies and different types of leaves.

Alternatively, it’s a nice activity to do once they’re home and ready for a sit down!

A camera

While we often take pictures on our smartphones these days, there’s nothing like a real camera to get children excited about capturing moments outside the home.

We like this VTech kidizoom children’s camera (£59.99) which is perfect for children between three and nine-years-old.  

We can attest to a five-year-old absolutely loving it, and they especially enjoyed the video function.  

Give it to the kids to take snaps of interesting trees or wildlife to bring out their budding David Attenborough.

Snacks 

Walking, scooting and biking can be hungry work, so don’t go out empty handed when it comes to snacks.

For something healthy and easy, we’d recommend a snack subscription box like these Treat Trunks (£19.99, Treat Trunk) which have a brilliant array of handy snacks that are portable.

Testing them out for the best healthy subscription boxes of 2020, our reviewer said: “We really felt like we got our money's worth, with the likes of large sharer bags of Proper Chips and Doisy and Dam dark chocolate orange balls. Protein-packed snack bars kept hunger pains at bay and individual tea bags kept us hydrated. It’s like having an unlocked vending machine in your kitchen.”

Flasks

As the winter rolls on, if you are taking a brisk walk with the kids, you might want to ensure you’ve got a warm drink on hand to keep them toasty (for toddlers, do be sure the liquid’s warm, not hot, to avoid burns).

We like this thermos bottle grip (£17, Jack Wolfskin), not least for its top, which can double up as a little mug. 

Our reviewer of the best insulated flasks said this is “a simple but effective choice”.  They noted it holds three cups easily, and we think it’s perfect for chilly days out.

If you have a little builder at home, take a look at our round-up of brilliant Lego sets you can buy now

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