School is closed. Parents are in charge of gym class! Kids are spending A LOT more time at home!
Sports schedules have grinded to a halt. Those weekday practices and weekend games are on hold! Days are filled with either learning at home or more-than-usual screen time or both. Snack time may be happening more often.
That’s how it is for my boys, especially right now. We’ve gone from having multiple sports everyday to sitting around a lot more. There has never been a time when my kids have been more at rest than they are right now. While I love the slower pace, I can’t help but wonder if we’ve slowed down to much.
How are your kids getting exercise?
In 2016, when we originally created this article on how to make family walks fun the post was sponsored by CLIF Kid. Together we wanted to remind families of the need to balance out their structured organized sports time with random active play.
Fast forward to now and I want to make sure that we don’t stay inside too much. Yes, we have orders from our governors and mayors to stay inside and stay at home. BUT they are also encouraging us to get outdoors and get exercise. It’s recommended we not go too far from home with our at-home exercise plans. You may not be able to travel to those New Jersey hiking trails but you can walk around your neighborhood.
Of course a walk around the neighborhood can get boring and routine if you do it the same way every time.
Let us help you with our tips to make family walks fun! After all it’s that time outside with each other that will help us mentally reset and get some exercise. And with our ideas kids can test their creativity, explore their imagination, and create their own adventures.
Family Walks are important to playtime
I can remember as a kid living in Texas, I spent so much time outdoors. I remember playing camping on the front yard across the street, covering ant hills with beach buckets to see what would happen, picking strawberries in the backyard for an afternoon snack, and walking up and down my street looking for another adventure. I’d walk down the street one way to get to my Girl Scout Brownie meeting. I would walk down in another direction for swimming lessons. And other times, I would walk door to door randomly leaving surprise bouquets of floors on neighbors’ doorstep with pictures I had drawn. I didn’t think too hard about playing. I did not think about how important walking was to my playtime.
Do you take family walks?
We do! Before the recent stay-at-home orders I admit most of our family walks took place during the summer when my boys were out of school. It does get challenging during a regular school year to have family walks, but it is not impossible. The best way I’ve found to get those family walks in is to schedule it around the school day. I would walk with my boys to school to drop them off for their school day and then walk back to pick them up at the end of the day. Some days, I may pick them up in my mom van and then drive over to a park or trails to mix up our family walking routine. Other days, when it’s clear my boys just need to get out and play, we’ll STOP everything and get out for a playful family walk.
Now, we’re stuck at home. School is closed. My husband is working from home. I’m used to working from home, but not with 4 other bodies in the house. Not only are my husband and I trying to work we’re also trying to help out kids with their lessons. We’re only 2 weeks in but already there have been times we have gotten on each other’s nerves.
A family walk not only helps us get some fresh air and stretch our legs, but it helps us to just get a little distance from each other.
Do kids enjoy family walks?
My boys can be funny and I admit difficult. Walking to school takes extra effort, we have to get up early to have enough time. (I wouldn’t mind that at all, right now.)
Kids are funny. Yes, they love their screens. Or they maybe fascinated with something else. Interrupting their plans to head out for a family walk takes effort. We have to be the parent and force them stop and make those family walks happen. But despite those initial grumblings about walking, my boys have never regretted one family walk we have taken. A few minutes on a path, or creating our own walking path, and they are all smiles.
Taking a family walk does not have to be boring!
The secret is to make family walks fun. Turn your next family walk into an outdoor playtime experience. Create a playful family walk.
It’s easy to make walking with your kids fun! All you need is some creativity.
10 Ways to Make Family Walks Fun
- Put the kids in charge of the walking music playlist. Will they pick hip hop, country, rap, jazz, pop? How will the beat of the music change the rhythm of everyone’s step?
- Go for an Art Walk! Chalk the Walk is a new movement sweeping the country and maybe your neighborhood. Kids and adults are breaking out the chalk and creating colorful designs on their driveways and sidewalks. Look for them as you walk. If you’re inspired to create your own when you get home use our Amazon affiliate link to order a large pack of sidewalk chalk. I love that Amazon even has sidewalk chalk stencils.
- Use a die to determine how to walk (skip, hop, run, etc). Roll a 1 and start skipping as far down the path as you can. A two on the die could mean to hop. A roll of a three means you sprint down the block. Toss a four? Walk backwards fifty steps. For a five jog to the end of the street. Land on a six? Make it a wild card where the roller decides. What kind of walk would your kids pick?
- Hunt for teddy bears! Another initiative being spread in our communities is Teddy Bear Hunts. Kids are placing teddy bears in their windows to cheer up kids as they take family walks. See how many teddy bears you can find.
- Bring along a spinner or a stick to choose the direction of the walk. Which ever way the spinner points after being spun or the stick lands after you toss it, your family walk takes off in that direction.
- Use flashcards to determine how many steps to take before changing directions. For addition problems move forward. For subtraction problems move backward. The number of steps is determined by the answer to the math problem.
- Bring along an animal picture book. Randomly turn to a page then try to see how far you can walk …walking like that animal.
- Use the alphabet and road signs to determine which way to go. For example, at the intersection of Adams Street and New Jersey Avenue. Go towards Adams Street because it starts with an A. At the next intersection, take the street with a letter closest to the letter you left off of.
- Let your ears lead the way. Have everyone listen for a sound. Pick one of those sounds and walk in the direction of the sound till you can locate its source. Then find a new sound to follow.
- Window shop for rainbows! Another movement we have seen on Facebook are windows filled with rainbows. Kids and their parents are decorating their windows with rainbows to bring cheer to neighbors taking family walk. If you’re inspired to create your own order some window markers from Amazon (affiliate link) or use this recipe and make window paint.
Bonus tip to make family walks fun!
- Have a scavenger hunt! Determine the theme of your scavenger hunt: the alphabet, a certain color, a kind of animal, a car type, etc. Then search it out on your family walk.
These are just some ways you can make your next family walk more fun.
School and sports have been put on hold. It may be tempting to stay inside in your pjs. But don’t let it!.. Make time NOW o get your kids out for a playful family walk.