After weeks of lockdown, my kids have started to lose interest in “the family walk”. I totally understand, they are used to doing organised sports with friends, which is usually a great mix of games and a side serve of exercise, and well, kids don’t tend to appreciate the scenery and serenity of a walk like us “old people” (so I’ve been told – thanks kids! 😂 😂 ).
So, I decided to “re-brand” the family walk, because I couldn't take another day of the kids complaining before we had even left the driveway! 😩 So I added games to our walk, this has increased engagement and re-ignited new interest from my kids. By adding in some simple fun, with catchy sounding names, I am finding they are now asking me to go for a walk, which is a refreshing change.
Detailed below are the 5 games that my family have been playing that can be adapted to suit kids of all ages. Try them on your next family walk and you might find your kids change their mind about walking, especially when you announce we are going on a “word up walk” or a “rock it walk” suddenly walking is fun again (plus they are so simple, that you still get to enjoy the scenery 😉 😉 )1. Word Up Walk
This is an easy game that everyone can play, and a great way to expand vocabularies too. Start by picking a word, and the next person thinks of a word associated with it. Continue doing this for the length of the walk. Guaranteed to get everyone laughing especially when you reflect on where it ends up at the end of your walk. An example of this might be:
Dog – Bark – Tree – Leaves – Green – Grass – Lawnmower – Petrol – Car
If your children are competitive (like mine), you can make this an elimination game, by skipping people who can’t think of an answer after a 10 seconds.
2. Spot it Walk
This game requires a little bit of pre-walk prep but is well worth it. Write a list of items (or pictures for younger children), that you need to spot on the walk. If you are walking off-trail try items like a yellow flower, gum nuts, a red leaf, a bird, an ant, rock shaped in a heart etc. If you are planning a more suburban walk try things like a dog, a blue push bike, a yellow car, a parent pushing a pram, a yellow flower, a lawn mower etc. When you spot the item, yell out “spot it blue bike” and mark it off the list. First person to find everything wins. Oh! and for the older kids make the list more challenging with really specific items to find, or better still have one of your kids create a list. For younger kids, still learning to read, use images (with the words 🌼 🚲 🐕 ). My kids get very competitive with this game, it’s lots of fun!
3. Table Talk Walk
If you already have a pack of our Dinner Conversation Card’s you’ll know that kids always want “just one more card” each night. This is a great opportunity to entice your kids out for a walk using the cards. Each person on the walk picks a card to bring along with them (if you have “our family” blank cards this is also a great opportunity to write your own questions for the walk). The idea is the walkers stop to read the question, then you can answer each question while you are walking along. You will be surprised how quickly the walk will go and how a different environment sparks new conversations.
4. Rock it Walk
This walk requires planning in advance, and combines a craft activity too! A popular hobby in my area is rock art. Where kids (and lots of talented adults) paint rocks or pebbles, and hide them in the local area for kids to find. It is a lot of fun, however I would suggest before you purchase all the equipment and find out your kids “just aren’t that into it” that you start by joining a local rock art group (Facebook) and perhaps getting some suggestions of where you might find some hidden (so you can by chance find them). That way if your kids enjoy finding them, you can then purchase paint pens (they are pricey but worth it for the easy clean up) and start hiding your own. I’ve found this adds a whole lot of fun to walking and no matter how old you are, finding and re-hiding a hidden rock is so much fun.
5. Counting Ducks Walk
This game is a bit of counting fun and can be as simple or challenging as you like. No it isn't about counting the number of ducks 🦆 you see on the walk, the idea is that as a team you count out loud but instead of saying the number 7 you duck down instead i.e. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, (duck down), 8, 9 etc and keep counting upwards, ducking for every number with a 7, like 17, 27 etc. If someone doesn’t duck down they are out. Continue until you have a winner. You can make it more challenging by having multiple numbers (7 and 4 as an example) and having different movements for different numbers (duck for 7 and clap for 4 as an example) or more challenging by using prime numbers or numbers divisible by 3 etc. instead of just the number 7. This game can be really helpful if you are learning times tables or still learning to count. Trust me you will be all laughing as you walk along ducking and clapping!