Learn a few activities to use when heading on an outdoor walk; or indoor. The perfect opportunity to connect, learn, and have fun as a whole family.
Why Should You Make A Walking Routine Fun?
Our kids are constantly bouncing around the house, and this is because kids need a TON of movement. Routine family walks are a fantastic way to help our children's development while connecting. But depending on the length of the walk, sometimes children can get “bored.” Making it a fun experience will increase our dopamine levels, endorphins, and oxygen, which are all needed to promote our connected happiness. That is why our family enjoys many different types of activities to keep it fun for everyone.
P.S. Don't worry if the weather is poor, there are activities that work even if you have to stay indoor.
List of Outdoor/Indoor Activities
Scavenger Hunt - This is a fun, affordable activity adapted to many different topics or themes. It is a great way to increase your child’s observation as well and any learning skill. Some suggestions include looking for colors, shapes, letters/words, nature objects, animals, etc.
Sound Hunt - Like a scavenger hunt, a sound hunt is a different way to increase observation skills by using your sense of hearing. Listen with intent and noticing the world around you by staying quiet. Playful activities that increase listening skills will create the basis for communication success at any age.
Letter/Word Search - There are various ways to play this game, depending on your child’s age or learning level. For example, with a toddler, start with objects associated with letters like A for acorn or apple. With an elementary child, work with CVC words or words appropriately selected to their reading level. Items on the word hunt could be an ant, worm, bird, etc. Create a fun way to work on phonics and reading. Inside you can try, things like B for book or finding a good CVC word like a ball.
Collect the Rainbow - Try finding every color from the rainbow. You can do this activity in any environment and find one or multiple items that fit each color. For little ones, have them collect the items and sort them. For older children, try having them draw a picture and label each object they find.
Sensory Walk - Children can explore the sense of touch with their feet on a sensory walk. Using large sensory bins, fill them with materials appropriate depending on whether outdoor or indoor. For outdoor containers, try water, sand, grass, sticks, leaves, and rocks. For indoor containers, try bubble wrap, pompom balls, packing peanuts, easter grass paper, faux fur, and rice. Set the containers in a path and let the walking begin. Our even better, go to the beach when you can feel the sand or go to a park a feel the stream; find a place where there is a new sensory delight.
Like an Animal - Moving or acting like an animal can promote movement and exercise. Use a dice, create a memory match game, or make a scavenger hunt when playing indoor. You can create different themes such as the zoo, farm, savannah, prehistoric, and more. Some examples could be stomp like an elephant, slither like a snake, roll like a pig, and waddle like a duck. When walking in your backyard, children could act like the animals they see, such as flying like a bird or wiggle like a worm.
Follow the Leader - Originally, follow the leader is when everyone stands in a line. The player in front moves in whichever direction or way they chose, and the rest copy the leader. Create a designated time for when the leader changes. However, this could be adapted to different children or family interests.
List of Outdoor Walking Activities
I Spy - This is a guessing game where one player describes an object that they can see. The player announces, “I spy with my little eye something….” When playing, you can use various methods to identify characteristics of the object, such as color, what letter it starts with, shape, or even texture.
I Hear - With the same general concept as ‘I Spy,’ this game works on your listening skills. Players will have to stay quiet and listen carefully, as well as following the clues. For older children, it would be fun to even let them record the different sounds. It could be the croaking of a toad or the splash of water.
Season Signs - With the change of seasons being a fun time for children, this game enhances those differences. This game is an excellent opportunity to use a camera and unleash your children’s curiosity and find their different perspectives. Have them take photos that are signs of the changes in season. For example, in spring, they could discover budding flowers, rain puddles, wiggling worms, birds making nests, and more.
Count Off - There are two options for this game. The first is to count off a particular object that you are likely to see on your walk and count how many you can find. For example, on Halloween, the family can count all the jack-o-lanterns, ghosts, and skeletons they see as decorations throughout the neighborhood. Another way to play is to have your children find objects to complete a number grid, such as one flower, two pinecones, three worms, four pill bugs, five blades of grass, six sticks, etc. This can become creating groups of two, five, ten, or whatever number combinations your children are working on.
Sing that Song - Nursery rhymes are essential for young children when developing language skills to help hear different sounds, syllables, rhymes, and rhythms—understanding these concepts will help when learning to read and write. One family member will start the game by singing one line of the nursery rhyme, and the rest can continue with the song. Older children can pick their favorite songs.
20 Questions - One player thinks of a person, animal, or something familiar to all players. Then the rest will take turns asking yes or no questions to help find clues to the answer. Anyone can guess the correct answer, but if no one correctly identifies the answer in 20 questions, the thinker wins the game.
Story-telling - Creating a story is a creative way to engage the whole family. Start with an idea, and then each player gets to help develop the story one sentence at a time. You may be surprised where the story leads.
Gather and Make - Children love collecting, but what do you do with those nature collections? There are plenty of crafts to make, such as nature weaving, nature stick, nature paintbrushes, rock painting, rock building and land art. These are just a few ideas, have fun and explore any idea your children think could be fun to try.
List of Indoor Walking Activities
Walk the Lines - Use painter’s tape to create different line activities. One activity is where there are spaced-out lines to jump forward, jump backward, stretch between, measure, etc. Another is to follow the line that can start as a zig-zag, straight, blocked, and more but keep your balance and stay on the line.
Home Obstacle Course - Indoor obstacle courses are a great way to use creativity and movement. Find a starting line, then activities for the course can include crawling under the table, zigzag in between chairs, don’t step on the floor, throw something into a basket, do jump and jacks, and more. Let your children create their obstacle course or do it together to make it more engaging.
Floor Is Lava - Pretend the floor is lava and avoid touching the floor. Create multiple paths of objects that can help your children stay off the floor. Perfect for one room or even be more adventurous and create the game throughout your whole home for a few hours.