Getting your children out of the house, especially older kids, can sometimes feel like more trouble than it’s worth and keeping them interested rather than just tolerating the cries of ‘this is boooorrrring!’ can be tough, whatever their age. The benefits of fresh air and exercise though are multiple, especially at the moment – that time outside is important for your own mental health and your children’s.
So how do you keep kids entertained when you’re out and about? How do you make a walk with kids feel like an adventure and not a chore?
We’ve put together eight ideas for things to do on a walk with kids that hopefully will be just as fun for you.
Mindfulness is all about looking for the small things, being aware of our surroundings, and a scavenger hunt is just this. We love this post from Coffee and Carpools – nine different free, printable scavenger hunts on different themes and for kids of different ages, including looking for particular colours, numbers and shapes. There’s also a template to create your own, which is another thing to keep little ones busy!
For a twist on the scavenger hunt, try a sound hunt for pre-school children.
Because who doesn’t love dressing up? Pick a theme for your walk – the circus maybe, or a particular colour – and create costumes for yourself based on the theme. You could even come up with characters for yourself and try to act as your character for the whole walk. Feeling a bit silly is part of the fun!
Geocaching might seem a little bit daunting, but thanks to our super smart phones you don’t need any fancy GPS equipment any more, just the geocaching app. It will tell you where to find your nearest geocache and then it’s simply a case of following the map to find the hidden treasure. Take a little stash of small toys or trinkets with you to leave behind.
Although winter can feel a little bleak when it comes to flowers, you’ll be amazed at what there is to discover once you start looking. To make your own crown you’ll need to find some bendy twigs to make into a crown shape, and then just weave in pretty leaves and plants as you walk. Here’s a fun example.
While simply counting steps might seem a little tedious, it can actually be really motivational to watch the distance tick by. Even more motivational, especially for children who like a bit of healthy competition, might be to sign up to a monthly walking challenge, with the promise of an actual medal when you hit your goal! With Race at your Pace you can set yourself targets based on steps or distance or The Conqueror challenges are virtual treks of famous places, like Mount Fuji or the Inca Trail. With these you get to learn about the place as you go and the medals are fab!
As you walk, take it in turns to make up the next line in a story or poem, based on things you can see around you. For example, one person might start with ‘Once upon a time there was a fluffy cat sat on a fence…’ and another might continue with ‘…who fell splat into a muddy puddle.’ Make it as silly or as serious as you like.
Let your kids be in charge of the phone or camera and take pictures of interesting things they spot. Encourage them to think a little differently and explore different angles and close up shots to make things look weird and wonderful. When you get home, choose your favourite pictures and print them out. Use your photos, (they can be printed on regular paper), to create a nature collage, cutting out interesting shapes and patterns.
Ideal for slightly older children, trying to create a map of your walk as you go can be a fun challenge. You’ll need paper and pens and possible sellotape to add sheets of paper together if your route goes in an unexpected direction! Include fun drawings of interesting things along your route, like a twisted signpost or a cute dog you see. When you get home you could use your sketch map as the basis for creating a treasure map or writing a story.
We hope these ideas will bring a bit of adventure to your walks with kids. If you need some ideas for when you’re at home, we’ve got a great round up of home learning resources too.