When it comes to outdoor activities with kids one of our favourites now that the kids are a little older is orienteering. It’s great fun for the whole family and a great skill for them to learn as well. If it’s something that you would like to do with your kids then read on to find out more about what Orienteering is, our top tips for kids and the equipment that you will need. So here you go a parents guide to Orienteering with Tweens and Teens.
Advertorial, we were gifted the hiking boots reviewed in this post by Regatta.
What is Orienteering?
Orienteering is navigating from 1 point to another with checkpoints on the way using maps, compasses and following the trails and footpaths to get there.
Although there are lots of organised events and activities it’s great to do as a family, it’s a fun activity that gets us outside together whatever the weather exploring new areas and teaching the kids great skills that in the age of Smartphone Maps and Sat Navs it’s something that they don’t have.
If your kids are in Scouts, Girl Guides or other similar organisations as well as considering participating in DofE it’s also an essential skill that they use for expeditions and more.
Looking for more outdoor activities for your teens and tweens then how about trying Paddleboarding? Check out our Tips and advice for paddleboarding with teens and tweens.
What Equipment Will you Need as a Family for Orienteering
You don’t really need much special equipment for orienteering,
- Map of the area
- Good hiking boots (see our review below of Regatta Walking Boots for Kids)
- Sensible clothing for the weather
- Small backpack for carrying extra layers or to remove layers and carry
- Water and food
Organising Orienteering As a Family
Part of the fun of Orienteering as a family is to either join in an organised event when the checkpoints/controls are set for you or plan ahead and make your own so that you and the kids could then carry out your own event.
You could even get some friends involved and take the timed challenge and see who can make the end point fastest.
So what do you need to do.
1. Plan your Start and Finish Points
Using a map of your local area plan the start and finish points of a route. If you are doing this for your family you will know the sort of distance that you will be able to cover.
As an example, we did this with a 6-mile route and had the same start and finish points so it was easy to park.
2. Pick Checkpoints or Control Points
Along the route, you will need to pick some control points or checkpoints that you must visit.
The idea will be to get to these points as quickly as possible and to beat the other team!
3. Split into teams
Will it be girls against boys, kids against adults, family against family? Maybe dad and the kids against mum! It’s really up to you. But, most of the fun is by aiming to get to the finish with the most fun and in the quickest time.
Decide whether you are going to stagger the start of your teams or head of all at the same time. Staggering the start means that even if you do take the same route you are unlikely to see each other and it really becomes a timed event instead of a race against the other teams.
4. Get Ready
Get all your equipment together, prepare and then get ready to go. It’s worth checking out the local weather reports and packing accordingly.
Also when it comes to water – we have found that using camel packs when you do orienteering means you don’t have to stop when walking to get drinks bottles out of bags etc…
When you are all prepared it’s time to START!
5. Plan your route
Start by spending a few minutes looking at the route, where are the checkpoints, endpoints, which footpaths look like they are going to get you there the quickest.
6. Off you go
Get ready to start. When we have done this as we don’t have specific apps instead when we reach checkpoints we send a message with a selfie of us at checkpoints along the way and the time it’s perfect for recording and even if you don’t have a signal at that point you will still have a record of the times when you arrived.
Review of Regatta Kids Walking Boots
One of the most important items on the equipment list after the map and the compass is sensible footwear and we’ve been putting pairs of kids walking boots from Regatta to the test with our two out orienteering as well as doing our regular nature and outdoor activities this autumn. Regatta is a name we’ve bought ourselves in the past but we were proved with these pairs for this review.
We’ve been buying walking boots for the kids since they were preschoolers for adventuring and hiking trips and have tried a lot of different boots. From our daughter’s first pair as a 3-year-old to ones that we took on our epic family road trip to Mexico to climb pyramids.
Choosing Walking Boots for Kids
When it comes to walking boots for the criteria for the kids there are certain things that we look for as well as the prices.
- Stability around the ankles
- Good sole
Kids Walking and Hiking Boots from Regatta
With a selection of different colours, sizes from Infant Size 9 through to Junior size 6 and both with velcro ankle closure and laces there are so many choices on the Regatta site for hiking boots for kids. Ranging from £20 to £60 in price there is also a range of different pricing options for the budget and all of them are waterproof it’s perfect for letting the kids pick their own and be individual in the design and choices.
We picked laces and in blue for both the kids from the selection as one has bigger feet than the other and being in a neutral colour that they both love they can also be handed down especially as kids feet grow so quickly.
Putting Kids Regatta Hiking Boots Through Their Paces
The kids decided to really put the shoes through their paces, a scouting activity day in the wind and rain and a family orienteering adventure for a 6 mile hike on a dry day.
We pulled on walking socks – I do recommend getting some and luckily Regatta have some that are ideal. Then laced on the boots and the kids headed off.
Both kids have narrow feet and often shoes bought off the shelf can be too wide but with laces, this means that it’s so easy to adjust and fit their foot comfortably so that they don’t slip around inside the shoes.
Each of them tried them out for a 7 hour activity day including climbing, crate stacking, running around and even go-karting and at the end of the day, their feet were still as comfortable as at the beginning.
Our second test of a longer hike across various terrain was exactly the same, with no blisters and not even a moan about sore feet from either of them.
The boots were put through a tough test, the Scouting activity day was meant to be 10 hours each but because the wind and rain were so bad it was called off early.
To say that they were wet when we picked them up is an understatement. Waterproof coats, trousers had done the job, but what about the shoes.
Once the shoes were removed both kids had thoroughly dry socks. No leaks, not even running through puddles had got in. The leather boots, that I wore to pick them up, leaked from a single puddle I didn’t manage to avoid on the way from the car to Scout Hut and back!
Will we buy Walking Boots for the Kids from Regatta in the Future
It’s a resounding yes – in fact although we did receive these pairs for a review here on Rainy Day Mum these are the kids 3rd pair that they have had. The price, functionality and different options have always made them one of the brands that we go to and try each time they need new boots.
Check out the range of kids walking and hiking boots from Regatta for your next outdoor activity with the kids.
More Outdoor Activities for Kids
Looking for other fun outdoor activities for kids check out some of these below.
Play the classic game of Pooh Sticks with our quick guide on how to play.
Plant and grow some seeds with our top tips on getting started with kids.
Head to the seaside and enjoy some rock pooling with kids.
Cerys is a marine biologist, environmental educator, teacher, mum, and home educator from the UK. She loves getting creative, whether it is with simple and easy crafts and ideas, activities to make learning fun, or delicious recipes that you and your kids can cook together you'll find them all shared here on Rainy Day Mum.