It sounds like it’s one of the easiest things in the world to do doesn’t it? Go out walking with our kids. But as any parent will tell you, nothing is as simple as all that! There’s always something that doesn’t go to plan.
As a mum on a tight budget, going for walks with my kids was often our go to activity. I couldn’t afford clubs and activities when my kids were little so nature provided for us. From toddlers all the way up till the teen years going for a walk was my default thing to do!
If you’re looking to get your kids outside more then I hope you’ll find this page helpful. I’ve linked to some more in depth posts that I have on my site too where applicable. Walking with kids is so much fun, I hope you find inspiration to make it a part of your normal lives too.
Is it healthy to walk with kids
Walking is a great activity for everyone, including kids, to get muscles moving and encourage blood to be pumped round the body. It’s low impact and can be as strenuous or easy as you want it to be.
Fresh air has a great benefit to kids too, especially in a world where they can be cooped up for hours on end.
Getting kids active doesn’t have to be tricky – striving to go for walks a couple of times a week is a great start.
Since there’s no real equipment needed to walk with kids it’s easy to get started and accessible to almost everyone no matter their situation.
Some love to track their activity with a kids fitness tracker and if your child is motivated by beating themselves, others or by taking part in the activities they link to, then it’s a great way to get kids to be more healthier.
How to make walking with kids more fun
Not every child will walk for an hour (or less!) willingly. Some kids get bored, struggle to find things to keep them occupied and just need a little extra help to make the walk fun and engaging. Some jump at the idea of a nature walk and others will just groan.
If you’re finding that your kids aren’t enthusiastic about your walks, don’t want to go out and would rather stay inside you might need to do some encouraging to get them excited.
Depending on the age of your child there are a few things that I like to try:
- play games such as I-spy
- go on a scavenger hunt
- see who can walk in a silly way
- look out for nature
- take a picnic
- Geocaching or even Pokemon Go might encourage tech savvy kids!
If you need some more ideas here are 28 fun things to do on a walk with kids
How do you walk with 3 kids or more
Walking with more than one child can be challenging, especially if they are of different ages and enjoy different things.
Here are some ideas to keep the peace when walking with 3 kids or more:
- Play ‘the floor is lava’ – honestly all ages love this game and it’s great while out and about
- Encourage older kids to start a story and get everyone to add to it and make it funny
- races between the kids are always a good idea when you’re on a safe pathway
- have a competition to see who can find the first orange leaf, bird or puddle!
Sometimes it’s about managing the issues and having coping strategies ready. So go out with a pushchair if your toddler can take a long time to walk and it frustrates the older ones. If you have a bad day, think about if there’s a way to make it better for next time.
Bring snacks. Snacks always make walks better!
How to get toddlers to walk outside
My biggest tip for those with toddlers is to go at their own pace and really embrace the patient side of you – you’ll need it! Allowing your toddlers to dictate what they want to see, look at and touch is a great way to get them started with walking outside and also loving the outdoors.
When toddlers don’t want to walk anymore, that’s when the problems can start. You might need a small arsenal of ideas for keeping them going or to make it a more pleasant walk. No-one enjoys the tantrums!
Here are some tips for when toddlers don’t want to walk any more.
One gadget that I found was invaluable when my little one was walking more, especially when I had a baby in the pushchair and couldn’t let him sit down, was a buggy board. It basically attaches to your pushchair and is a platform they can ride on behind. It can also work well if you are trying to transition away from using a pushchair just to give kids another option that isn’t being sat down.
What to bring on a walk with children
I may have mentioned it before, SNACKS!
Ok, let’s elaborate a bit on that. What I love about walking with kids is that it doesn’t need anything particular. You can just up and decide to go for a walk with no prior thought. But, there are some things that can make a walk with children more fun:
- Snacks and water – healthy snacks such as some raisin boxes, fruit and nuts are a good idea.
- binoculars or magnifying glasses
- drawing supplies
- a scavenger hunt game – here’s a ready made one that’s inexpensive and good to keep in a bag
- a first aid kit – at least some plasters and some antibacterial wipes are a good idea
- hand sanitiser or wipes
You might like my post about what to bring on a nature walk
One other thing to note is to try and be prepared for the weather. We know in the UK that we can get extremes in one day so suncream is another good option. Good waterproofs for kids will also help you to feel better when your kids make a beeline for the puddles!
Finding child friendly walks
Not all walks are great for kids. If you’ve been going walking for years and your kids are older you can probably tackle many hikes and walks near you but for those with toddlers, pushchairs and younger kids you might want to consider walks that are particularly family friendly.
When looking for walks that are suitable for kids I always check out the following:
- National Trust sites – they often have trails that are pushchair and pram friendly.
- Circular walks – anywhere that is a short and circular route is a good plan
- Canal walks – These often have pathways that make walking easy. Obviously take care if you have kids who might be unpredictable near water.
- Woodland walks – being away from roads can make these a great choice for adventurous and boisterous kids. If they are circular walks then even better!
- Nature reserves – often these are circular and they can sometimes be paved for accessibility taking you to bird hides etc
- Country Parks