I started my career leading groups of children in the Black Mountains in all weathers. It taught me a great deal about what makes a successful walk, and what makes a successful guide. The walks had to be entertaining, educational and challenging. We didn't have to bag a peak, we never set out with that objective because if we didn't make it there would be a sense of disappointment and failure amongst the group. Objectives were only set once we knew they could be achieved; "We'll get up to the ridge/those rocks halfway up/that tree at the base of the hill". There were some tall tales told; "That cemetery is where Anne Boleyn is buried/this is where they filmed the fire scene in Emmerdale in 1986", along with plenty of facts about the flora, fauna and geology of the Brecon Beacons. The young people finished their walk with a sense of achievement, a smile on their face and a deeper understanding of the environment they've passed through.
Skip a few years and I find myself with my own children to encourage into the great outdoors. First job was to make sure they were properly equipped. You don't have to spend a fortune, but too many times we see parents decked out in the latest gear with some grumpy, ill equipped children tagging along behind. If they are warm and dry they are more likely to be walking with a smile on their faces. Then it's getting them out there, first in the back pack, then tackling parts of the walk before completing an entire trip under their own steam. The same principles applied with achievable objectives, fun, games and a fair dose of bribery to get them to the top.
As they are getting older their involvement in the walk changes - they help carry more things, plan the route and lead navigation legs. Days out are loosely tailored to school topics, you can always find something to link to some element of study which keeps them engaged and helps deepen their understanding when they are back in the classroom.
Walking with children is a fantastic way of sharing your passion and inspiring the next generation. Just remember to keep it relevant, keep it achievable, and above all, keep it fun.