Walking with your children

With Autumn approaching there seems no better time to get your little ones away from the computer screens and walking. Autumn is a wonderful time of the year to be out and about, there is nothing more satisfying than crunching through  dried leaves in your wellies. Walking together as a family is an excellent way to spend some quality time together. It can be a perfect opportunity to also talk about issues that may be bothering your children, or just to chat in general about their life. As parents we are more than aware that our children should be participating in an hours exercise everyday, so why not get your wollies and wellies on and go explore the beautiful countryside. Walking has been shown to improve children's:

  • weight and blood pressure
  • bone, muscle and joint health
  • psychological welfare
  • academic performance
  • mental concentration
  • immune system for the following twenty four hours.

So what are you waiting for, by finding the time to walk as a family, you are encouraging a healthy lifestyle, which hopefully your children will take with them into adulthood.

How to get your child walking.

I have discussed the benefits of getting your children walking, but I assume like me that you find it almost impossible to drag your children away from the warmth of the house. With a few simple ideas you can hopefully get your children excited about the idea of going for an 'adventure.' Using a bit of imagination and enthusiasm, you can easily turn a boring stroll into an exciting expedition for your little ones. Children take great pride in being a team leader. If you can find a map of where you are going, or get your child to make their own, you can let them navigate and show you where to go. You could also let them use a compass, and help them with their sense of direction, teaching them how to find north, south, east and west. Try not to rush the walk, encourage your children to stop and take note of what they see around them. Make it exciting for them, look under rocks for bugs, see what different leaves you can find, see if you can find any animal footprints. Pack an 'adventurers' backpack before you go. Try putting in some of the following items:

  • camera
  • magnifying glass
  • bug boxes
  • pens and paper
  • wax crayons for rubbings
  • a paper bag to collect different items.
  • and don't forget a healthy snack and drink :)

Take a collection bag, or bucket and fill it with different types of leaves, acorns, twigs, pine cones, and anything else they find interesting. When they get home they can use their  collection bag for further learning activities. You could try the following ideas, or make up your own:

  • sticking pictures.
  • printing pictures -using paint
  • rubbing pictures -put the leaf under the paper and rub a wax crayon over it.
  • make sparkly pine cones - drizzle glue and glitter over the pine cone. these look lovely hung on a Christmas tree. :)

Plan your walk so there are little treats incorporated into it, like, walking past a park, or a river they can splash in. If you notice that they are dragging at some points, try shouting out 'first to the... (tree, rock etc) wins' this can usually be enough to get them all excited again. But please note... you must run too :) Tesco have a lovely 'walk this way' eye spy game that you can download and print out, or you could get your children to make their own. You can also turn the walk into a treasure hunt by providing your children with different challenges they have to complete. These are some of the challenges I have set for my boys before:

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