Okay, we know the developmental benefits of talking a family walk. But what if your kids aren’t into it? Do you need to figure out how to make a walk more fun for kids? Check out our list of fun things to do a on a walk with kids of all ages.
When the kids were toddlers, we took a family walk almost every night after dinner. It was a chance to chat with my husband, for the kids to sneak in some more time outside and, if we’re being honest, a way to fill up the witching hour.
But the kids got older, and they decided walks were boring. We tried bringing out the scooters, bikes, and skateboards, but none of that had the same peaceful vibe from our earlier walks.
So we changed it up. We made up a few games, took advantage of a few neighborhood landmarks, and threw in some excitement now and then.
If you find yourself having to drag your kids through your nightly walk, try out some of these fun things to do on a walk with kids. You might find that they don’t hate the walk so much after all!
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The Developmental Benefits of Walking for Kids
There are tons of well-documented benefits fo walking for kids, particularly if they go for a walk with their family. Socially, it gives kids a chance to interact with their parents and siblings.
It also contributes to better health, promotes independence and leads to greater feelings of happiness and contentment. Walks are a great chance for kids to notice things, make observations, and practice important gross motor skills.
It’s also a good way to kill time during that witching hour, but there’s no study proving that (yet).
How to Make a Walk More Fun for Kids
But let’s be honest, getting the kids excited about walking the same old loop, night after night, isn’t the easiest thing to manage. There are TONS of ways to make a walk more fun for kids. Here are some of our favorite ideas.
Practice Gross Motor Skills on Your Family Walk
Walks are a great way to practice gross motor skills- and no, we’re not just talking about the physcial act of walking.
Encourage kids to practice their gross motor skills (and make the walk more fun) by taking advantage of your surroundings to build skills. They can practice things like:
- Balancing, using the curb as a balance beam
- Walking with one foot on the curb and one foot on the street (This is called curb walking, and while it sounds strange, it is GREAT for coordination and balance)
- Using stepping stones (on public property!) to practice jumping, on one foot or two
- Encourage kids to run one section, then gallop another, then skip, etc.
- Is there a railing along your route? Let your kids climb it! It’s great for balance, sensory development, and risk assessment. (And also: it’s super fun.)
- Got a body of water on your walk? (We use the drainage canal near us, but do you!) Grab a rock or pinecone on your walk, and practice throwing it into the water. Only use natural objects that won’t cause issues for this one, of course!
We have a makeshift obstacle course that we have the kids do in certain sections of our walk. It’s become a part of our routine, but it’s SUCH a good way to build those skills into our day.
Related Post: 10 Gross Motor Skills Your Preschooler Needs to Master
Bring a Piece of Chalk
Chalk is easy to carry (especially if you make your kids carry it) but it can make your walk a lot more fun. Kids can use chalk start/finish lines for a makeshift race, or leave notes of encouragement for neighbors on public sidewalks.
Cole likes to draw pictures or write notes to neighbors they know near their driveway. He’s practicing writing and drawing, and making people smile in the process. As long as you know your neighbors are cool with it, it’s a win-win!
Practice Their Colors
We often play the rainbow scavenger hunt from Bluey with the kids. We typically look for cars in all the rainbow colors- good old ROYGBIV- but you can also hunt for items that fit your rainbow scheme.
Playing a game of iSpy on your walk is also a good way to sneak in more color recognition. Make a rule that the object has to be a couple houses ahead, so you don’t miss it while you’re walking.
Do a Scavenger Hunt
Once in a while, bring along a printable scavenger hunt to keep your kids engaged in their surroundings. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Our free, printable rainbow scavenger hunt sheet
- A neighborhood-friendly scavenger hunt (with levels for readers and non-readers)
- This ADORABLE nature themed scavenger hunt
- A summer themed scavenger hunt, with options for road trips, camp outs, and the beach
- Our free transportation-themed scavenger hunt, great for walks along busier stretches of road
Collections to Gather on Your Walk
Set out to find things on your walk with the kids by giving them a category of items to collect.
Not looking for anything in particular? Check out this activity, where kids use an egg carton to collect natural treasures.
Change Your Walking Route
Even I get sick of walking the same old route every night. So change it up!
Let your kids take turns being in charge of picking the walking route, or choose a path that takes you by a landmark instead (think fire station, duck pond, a friend’s house, etc).
And if you live in a walkable neighborhood, it can be nice to walk to a destination (like an ice cream or cupcake shop) once in a while too.
So choose a fun activity to do on a walk, change up your routine, and see if it makes a difference. We bet with just a few simple additions, your kids will start enjoying walking more (and as a result, so will you!)
Looking for more ways to get outside with your family? Head here next-
- 9 Ways to Play with Rocks Outside
- 10 Outdoor Toys for Kids To Encourage Independent Play
- Whatever Happened to Playing Outside? The Importance of Outdoor Play for Kids