Going wild

When you want to take your little one into the great outdoors, preparation is key! Before each adventure, pack a bag with the following:

  • Beaker of water / milk
  • Snacks
  • Meals (err on the side of caution if you are not sure how long you will be out)
  • Food and drink for yourself
  • Hats, scarves, gloves
  • Sun hat
  • Sun tan lotion
  • Full change of clothes
  • Nappies, changing mat, wipes
  • Handwash / sanitiser
  • Waterproof bag to put dirty nappies / wet clothes in
  • Wallet with change
  • First aid kit
  • Mobile phone (a portable charger is useful, too)
  • Map and directions

Other useful kit:

  • ID guides
  • Magnifying glass
  • Bug viewing box
  • Pooter
  • Pond dipping net
  • White tray
  • Camera
  • Binoculars

A baby carrier is usually essential. I use an Ergo. My daughter is so petite that I haven’t found any wellies to fit her yet, but they would definitely be an advantage. She wears an all-in-one waterproof made by Hippychick. Don’t forget to wear appropriate clothing yourself, too.

Check the weather forecast before you go and allow plenty of time to cater for rest stops. Always tell somebody where you are going and when you expect to be back. And do your research so you know what to look for when you get there and how to answer any difficult questions your toddler might ask about what they are seeing.

Taking a toddler anywhere is rarely relaxing but they are generally happier out and about than climbing the walls indoors, so it is definitely worth making the effort. This is about having fun together, not about structured learning, so you don’t have to be an expert naturalist yourself. But if you or your little one develop a love and respect for the natural world, or a desire to learn more about it, then that’s a real added bonus.