Helpful hints for making walks fun for kids
Do you need tips on getting your kids to go on walks with you? With the current restrictions on playgrounds, it might feel like an uphill battle. So, we have pulled together our best ideas to get the whole family excited about your next trek.
One thing kids love is feeling responsible. Whether it be an app on your phone or a paper map, why not hand over the map reading to the kids? Getting them to navigate can be lots of fun for the whole family.
For those longer walks, consider creating a picture checklist (like the one below. Click on the image to download and print.) and find as many of the outdoor objects as you can. Increase the fun and set a time limit to see who finds the most objects in that time.
Give nature the appreciation it deserves and take an empty matchbox with you on your walk. Ask your children to fill it with as many tiny, nature treasures as they can find. Just remember to remove the matches before the walk!
Heads or tails walk
If you’re out for a wander and don’t have a defined route, take a coin with you and ask the kids to choose heads or tails (heads for left, tails for right). Each time you come to a crossroad, toss the coin to see which way you’re headed. This is a fun walking game for kids of all ages.
Magnifying glass walk
Kids love to investigate so give them a magnifying glass so that they can take a peek at wildlife close up.
Fly a handmade kite
Going for a walk on a windy day? That’s perfect for a handmade kite. Create your kite out of tissue paper or paper and string and watch the kids have fun running around with their kites in the wind.
Give the kids a challenge
Kids love nothing more than a challenge. So, give them tasks to do. For example, ask them to find five different types of leaves, spot three varieties of birds, find the shortest stick, find the longest stick, etc. There’s no limit to the number of little challenges you can dream up to motivate the kids.
Before your walk, pack some crayons and paper and on your journey look for interesting textures such as bark, twigs, leaves, etc. and after placing the paper on top rub a crayon over it. Your kids can start a collection of nature rubbings.
Photo scavenger hunt
If your kids are older, challenge them to take photos of different things they see on the walk. Perhaps create a theme or topic to focus on. Ideas could be something yellow, something slimy, something smooth, the skyline, new life – inspiration is all around you.
Treasure map game
This might work better in the backyard. Keep your kids engaged and motivated by creating a map of your garden and add little challenges along the way to where finally ‘X marks the spot’.
A great way to keep kids interested in the walk is asking them to listen out for certain sounds such as birds chirping, a bee buzzing, an aeroplane, dog barking, leaves rustling or wind blowing.
Walking activities for preschoolers
Small kids often complain about being tired on long walks so try to motivate them by saying “we’re coming to a fast spot!” Gently pull your child’s hand and start running. Consider building your child’s sense of anticipation by saying something like, “that’s the end of the fast spots for now,” and then, “oh no! We’ve come to another fast spot.”
Items to take on long walks
And finally, there are a few things you can pack into a backpack for long walks to make them more bearable for children (and for you!) such as:
- plastic bags for wet or muddy clothes, or quick nappy changes
- wipes because kids love walking in mud
- a little magnifying glass
- water bottles and snacks
- sunscreen and hats if it’s hot
- little pots of bubbles, which are great for keeping kids entertained.
Reference: ‘How to make walking outdoors fun for kids’ by Thimble and Twig, 2020,