Walking can be a great way to stay fit as a family. This form of exercise is inclusive, low impact and gets the whole body moving. It’s also an activity you do with the whole family.
While adults often love to hike, smaller children can get restless on longer walks. Luckily, there are ways to ensure walks become enjoyable outdoor family activities for everyone:
- Let children ride their bike while you walk. This lets kids engage in a more physical exercise and keeps them attentive to their surroundings.
- Play I-spy. I-spy ensures children looking around and pointing out what they see, which keeps them engaged in the activity and curious for what they’ll find next.
- Let kids pick the route and walk. Children are far more likely to be enthusiastic about taking a walk if it’s their idea. Have your children pick the destination of the walk, draw up an itinerary and trace the route on a map.
- Coincide the walk with an event. Whether it’s late-season maple sugaring or a special event in a park, a little something extra turns a simple walk into lots of outdoor family fun.
- Mix the walk with another activity. Hiking takes on a whole new level of fun if you combine it with swimming or camping. Making your walk into an overnight camping trip takes the activity to a whole new level. While this option will take much more planning, try making it a surprise for your family to make it even more special!
- Explore new terrain. Rather than walking on boardwalks or usual trails in a park, consider exploring a nearby forest, national park, caverns or shoreline. New landscapes mean whole new areas to explore and ensure you don’t get into a hiking rut!
- Buy special walking gear. If your child has hiking shoes or a backpack they have picked out and only get to wear on family walks, it can elevate their experience and be something they get excited about every time.
- Plan something fun after the walk. Whether it’s a family movie night or a smoothie at the new healthy juice bar, a treat after a walk serves as positive reinforcement.
- Incorporate bird-watching. If your family loves animals, encourage children to spot as many birds as possible. Take a camera, binoculars, and consider getting a book to reference which birds you find each time. Keep track to see who can spot the most!
- Help children explore a related hobby. Having your child take videos on nature walks or encouraging them to document the travel by tracking the journey with a GPS app or camera can make them feel more involved in the activity.
There’s a whole world of outdoor family fun waiting for you! Try these tips to get everyone in your family excited about walking together and staying active.