Around here, we’ve had an unusual warm streak. 60 degrees in February in the Midwest?!? While I know this won’t last, it has made me start to think about spring, and getting outside, fresh air, and more exercise…
One thing that seems to come with all of those things is going for a family walk. One of my kids isn’t especially fond of this…she doesn’t see the point (unless we are walking to the park). When Spring springs for good around here, these are the ideas that I hope will make walks more enjoyable for her. Some we’ve used with my son (and had great success!), others are new. I hope you enjoy them!
Make a Prediction
Before you set out on a walk, make a prediction for something that you might see. For example, you could predict the number of white mailboxes that you will see while walking. You could predict the number of open garage doors…the number of dogs in the yards…the number of flags. The possibilities are endless! Then, as you walk, see how close you get to your prediction. This activity sets a purpose for walking and keeps kids engaged and actively looking around. You could set one prediction together, or you could set individual predictions and make it a competition!
This walking activity can be a great review for younger kids, or a challenge for older kids. For the younger kiddos, pick a few basic shapes to focus on…whatever your little one needs to practice. As you go for a walk, look for these shapes. For example, if you are looking for circles and squares as you walk, you might find that they are naturally all around us…the square of mailbox flag, the square windows on a garage door, the circle of car tires, etc. For older kids, make it more of a challenge. You could work together to see how many different shapes you can see in nature or in the neighborhood. You could include the basics, as well as more challenging shapes…trapezoids, parallelograms, crescents, etc.
Have you ever played the Alphabet Game while traveling on a road trip? The idea here is similar. Start at the letter A, and as you walk around the neighborhood, look for items that begin with the letter A. Once you find one, move on to the letter B, and look for items that start with that letter. Then, move on to C. You get the idea. This can be a collaborative effort, everyone working together to reach the goal. Or, it can be more of a competition, seeing who gets to the end of the alphabet first. This game works best if you look for items that begin with the designated letter, not actual words on signs. 🙂
Do you have younger kiddos who need to practice their colors? Use a family walk as an easy way to do that! As you walk, make it a game to spot specific colors. One person states a color, and everyone else looks to see what might be that color in the area. After items have been called out, the next person states a color and the activity continues. This activity keeps kids engaged and looking around the area. It sharpens their observation skills, and it provides good practice for kiddos still learning their colors.
This activity can lead to some interesting discussions, especially with older kids. As you walk, ask everyone to be on the lookout for positive ways and negative ways that humans are affecting the environment. When one is spotted, briefly discuss it. For example, if a car drives by and you can smell the exhaust, you might discuss air pollution. If you walk by a house that has a bird feeder up, you might talk about how that is positive for wildlife in the area. This activity not only sharpens observation skills, but it gets kids thinking about the environment and their neighborhood as well.
Sometimes a walk is just a really great opportunity to talk to kids. There is something about it…maybe it’s the steady pace, maybe it’s the fact that eyes are usually forward instead of looking at each other…but kids will often share more and talk more on a walk than they will just sitting face to face in the house. Use a family walk as a time to ask about your child’s day. Ask them what their “high point” of the day was and why. Ask about the “low point” of the day and why. Share about your day. Use the time to connect with your kiddo. You may find that you walk a little further than planned, just to keep the conversation going. 🙂
Walking has so many great benefits! If you have ideas to add to the list, please share! We will all benefit. 🙂
Take good care.
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