My name is Sarah and I am a mom of four ages 15-4. Our family is very active and loves to spend time outdoors hiking, running, swimming, biking and playing sports. I started including my children in outdoor activities from a very young age. I would go running with the jogging stroller (I even trained for my first marathon with a triple stroller!), hiking with backpack carriers and once my children could walk, they would hike/walk with us. I think it is important to get your children involved in activities at an early age. Even before they can do the activities themselves, they can watch you being active from a stroller or backpack carrier. I think involving my children from an early age has helped to instill a love of staying active and enjoying the outdoors.
I think one of the biggest ways to involve children and help them enjoy it is to keep it fun! When my kids were little, and I would run with them in a jogging stroller I would bring fun activities for them to do while I ran. This could include a fun new book or toy, a snack with maybe a treat included. We would run to playgrounds so that they could get out and play. When it was hot outside, I would give them a popsicle after our run. As they got older, I still tried to keep it fun and include fun treats. I might get them an ice cream cone of icee after a hot run.
Another way to keep them motivated was to sign up for a race. Then they had an end goal in mind and training had a purpose. We would add mileage each week and they could see how they were improving and were excited to see how far they could go the next week. And of course, race day was always fun, and they loved running and showing off all their hard work from the last few months!
I have noticed with my own children that they are more willing to participate and do activities if their friends are involved. A lot of times when I signed up for a race, I would tell their friends so they would sign up too. During the summer, we love to go hiking and running trails and I always try to include a friend or two with us. Everything is more fun when you have a friend to experience it with.
I hope that these ideas can help you in getting your own children involved in your activities.