So we’ve been trying to have our daily hour of exercise and trying to persuade the children to come out with us as much as we can.
Space and time away from the house is so important to children’s mental health yet the same walk with the same people on the same route can really start to become a chore for young kids.
So we’ve come up with a few ways to make our walks more interesting to them, we hope a few of them help you too!
Vary the Route
Easier said than done you’d think, but I know of some families who simply flip a coin to decide left or right at the end of a road and keep changing the way they go.
If they are a little older get them involved in planning the walk, get them to suggest their ideas of where to go and what they want to see along the way. To be honest our kids ideas haven’t been much different to ours, but they feel like they are in control of the plan and often that helps.
Why not PIN this:
Last weekend the kids had had enough of each other so we split into teams and made each other a treasure hunt. The idea was that we had to find simple things – butterfly, yellow flower, blossom etc – snap a photo and then make our way back to the house with a complete list. We added a couple of harder things to find to make the trail last closer to the hour but we had great fun.
Geocaching is like one big worldwide treasure hunt. The quickest way to describe it is, someone hides a cache (box or film canister for example), they then take note of the coordinates (where the cache is located) and post the details about the cache online at geocaching.com. Get the Free App here!
What 3 Words
what3words is a really simple way to talk about location.
They have assigned each 3m square in the world a unique 3 word address that will never change. For example ///filled.count.soap marks the exact entrance to what3words’ London headquarters.
We created the kids a treasure hunt with a series of 3 words that took them round a walk the other day and it added another level of intrigue and fun to the walk!
If your kids already have cameras, or you have ones you are happy to let them use on your phone or otherwise then head out to take photos of specific things. It’s a great way to teach them a new skill but also a way to occupy them whist on their daily constitutional.
What about litter picking/trash tagging? Just think how clean our towns and cities would be if everyone who was out walking at the minute picked up just 10 pieces of litter on their route. Kids tend to be quite excited about this. Just remember to take gloves and little pickers if you have them!
Another idea we’ve used on a number of occasions is for the kids to come back and draw something that they’ve seen on the walk. In more usual times we might sit on a bench, or a hill, and do this whilst we are out but we’ve adapted the idea and as adults we can take a quick snap of the idea with our phones. This one is easy to combine with the photography challenge!
Treats and Snacks
When we travel snacks are really important and they feel no less important on a walk too. Let’s get to the top of that hill and you can have a Percy Pig – repeat as necessary! Here are some ideas for snacks too.
I’ve resisted this one to be honest as we only have two phones on which this would work and three kids, but I know lots of others who rave about the Pokemon Go app and how it is brilliant at getting kids (and adults) outdoors!
Google 3D Animals
This is lots and lots of fun and I’m sure you’ve seen this trick as it’s gone viral. For younger kids you could always suggest to them that certain animals will be discovered at certain points on your walk.
We’ve always told stories on the way round walks to our younger kids, but now they are older we try to get everyone to get involved in the story telling. Start of the story with a sentence and let the next person create the next line. It can be hilarious where the stories go. We often play this game in the car too.
Another car favourite, but also a walk one too. Choose a topic – can be Girls Names, Boys Names, Food, Clothes, Countries or whatever you like. Let’s say we chose Countries.
The first person has to think of a Country beginning with the letter A – such as America for example, the second B, perhaps Bolivia – and on you go. We have endless fun with this game.
An oldie but a goodie. I try and start this game towards the end of any walk otherwise we can end up playing it the whole time. It’s also amusing to play with little ones as they often pick something they saw 5 minutes ago and you can no longer see!
How about a scavenger Hunt. You can either make a list or if your child can’t read, you could print off visuals with tick boxes When you get home with the collected stuff (twigs, sticks, rocks, daisy etc) you could make a bug box
Stick Collection for Art
How about a stick collection so that when you come back you can make some art with it? We love this one – not ours!
Make a Video
Why not get the kids to make a video when you’re out on your daily walk. They could pretend to be a tour guide and make a news report of your local area!