How I Trick My Kids Into Going on Walks With Me

How I Trick My Kids Into Going on Walks With Me

My kids claim to hate going for walks, and no amount of “but it’s a nice day out!” or “we all need some fresh air!” is enough to convince them otherwise. So over the years, I’ve had to get creative and trick them into going on walks around the neighbourhood with me — by making it seem less like a stroll and more like a game. Here are my best tips for getting kids off screens and out wandering with you.

Colour walk

Colour walks were a pandemic Instagram trend I stole to great success. When we set out, we choose a colour, theme, or challenge. We might choose a specific colour, like red, or aim to find one thing from each colour of the rainbow. We’ve chosen seasonal colour schemes, such as orange and black around Halloween, or to find certain colours — but only in flowers. For an extra challenge, we might we have to find green things that aren’t leaves.

You can decide to collect items (as long as it doesn’t involve picking someone’s flowers) or, you can simply “I spy” it. To get even more interactive, take photos together and make a collage when you get back home.

Clues

Doing a clue walk involves a little prep on your part, but it makes for a fun adventure. For my daughter’s birthday party, I hid rhyming clues in the woods that led to each new location. An example was, “If you follow this path to the right, you’ll see the next clue in plain sight.” You walk with them as they go from clue to clue.

To make it easier on yourself, if you walk a familiar path, you could think of things ahead of time, write them down in a notebook, and then read them to your kids as you reach each new location. For example, “Our next location is the yellow house that has a topiary shaped like a mouse.” They will be more focused on finding the house, and less focused on the fact that they’re “on a walk.”

If you put a prize at the end of this, you can call it a scavenger hunt, but we just let this be a fun way to lead us in a circle back home without a prize. The kids have to follow the clues to get from one spot to the next and back home again.

Rhythm maker

There’s a drama game called “rhythm maker” in which one person makes a rhythm like clapping or snapping, and everyone else copies them, and someone who was out of the room when the leader was chosen has to guess who the created the rhythm. I only have two kids so I can’t necessarily play this game with them while we walk — instead, we take turns being the rhythm maker, and the rest of us have to copy the rhythm while we walk in time.

One person can sing a song and the rest join in, or when someone has inevitably procured a stick, they can keep the beat for the group with it rather than using it as a sword.

Other, quick suggestions

Once they’re bored with colours, clues, and rhythms, try one of these:

  • Let kids bring scooters, and they can double back and forth between you and the curb as many times as they like, as long as they’re being cautious of roads and cars.
  • “We’re going on a bear/fairy/monster/whatever hunt!”
  • Give them tiny notebooks and pencils and have them catalogue bugs, plants, rocks, etc.
  • Remember the old Monty Python sketch “Ministry of Silly Walks?” Come up with your version of silly walks and have kids change their walk style every block. Or, yell out suggestions once a block. “Walk like a robot!” “Walk like your legs are jello!”

Sometimes they’re happier when they’re outside even if they don’t think it sounds fun when you suggest it. Everyone can enjoy a little walk around the block.

 

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