15 Ways To Spice Up Your Family Walk Routine
Written by Erin Feher
Photography by PHOTOGRAPHY BY WINONA BARTON-BALLENTINE
It’s the Golden Age of the walk. Since COVID-19 shut down all the museums, playgrounds, schools, restaurants, and pretty much everything else, there seems to be only one thing we can all do to stay sane and make sure our kids actually fall asleep at night: Walk. And while fresh air and physical activity is always a good thing, after three months or more of strolling—often the same few routes—we’re betting your daily walks could use some spicing up. So, we bring you 15 ways to upgrade your family walks, and even safely bring some friends along. See our list below, then share with us your own ideas in the comments!
Scoot Or Bike With A Small Crew. Put on your masks and grab your wheels! Biking, scooting, skateboarding, even roller skating is a fun way to socially distance with a few friends on your regular walk route.
Go On A Scavenger Hunt. Write out a list and head out and hunt. Whether it’s rainbows or BLM posters in windows, Volkswagen Beetles, out-of-state plates, or street names that start with the same letter as your name, the options are endless. Ask kids to make their own lists for extra-wacky fun.
Walk At Night. Flashlights, glow sticks, and blinking bike lights will add a whole new dimension of adventure to your typical walk route. You could even brush up on your astronomy and do some start spotting. Some of our favorite kid-friendly books are Astronomy For Kids: Planets, Stars and Constellations and The Faces, or Phases, of the Moon – Astronomy Book for Kids.
Run. Lace up and take the whole family on a jog. Set some destination goals and see if your crew can make it without breaking their stride!
Take A Listening Walk. Challenge your kiddos—and yourself—to zip your lips, as you put your ears and other senses to the test. What do you hear and notice around you? You can each write down and share your observations once you’re all allowed to speak.
Make Deliveries. Gather up some homemade gifts—letters, cards, artwork, bundles of just-baked cookies, bags of fresh lemons, or fresh-cut flower or herb bouquets from the garden—and set off to brighten your neighbors’ day. Drop packages on the doorstep, knock, then head back to the sidewalk to safely watch them retrieve their care package.
Climb Aboard The Jumprope Train. A standard jumprope makes an ideal social-distance-measuring tool, and going on a woodsy hike turning this way and that—with the leader holding the front of the rope and the caboose clutching the other end—will turn your daily walk in to a wild ride and let you safely hang with a friend!
Bring A Picnic. Pack up some grub, drinks, and a lightweight blanket and set off on an extended adventure, complete with a lunch break. Let the kiddos select the picnic spot, and don’t be afraid of getting creative or heading off trail to find a super secluded locale.
Find A New Route. Whether you live near the woods or in the middle of a concrete jungle, do a little research and map out some heart-pumping new treks near you. Conquer city steps, local trails, or even take a drive to find something new to you.
Wear a Blindfold. Heading out into the world without one of your major senses lets you experience things in a whole new way. Watch this video on how to guide a blind person and put your new skills to use guiding your child (or having a big sib guide a younger one) through familiar routes.
Make Art Along The Way. Head out with a stash of chalk and stop and make art along the way. Create a game of hop scotch in the park, spread some Black Lives Matter messages, chalk some clues for fellow walkers to follow, or write out some jokes to get strangers chuckling. And who knows, your art could spark a trend, with neighbors joining in to contribute to your outdoor gallery.
Get To Know Your Neighborhood Birds & Fauna. Download the Audubon bird identification app and get to know the birds hanging around your hood. Or, become a botanist and learn about your local flora and fauna by adding an app like PlantSnap to your daily walks.
Collect Specimens. Tote a Tupperware container and collect interesting plants, deceased bugs, or extra special rocks. Once you’ve brought them back to your home lab, experiment, research, or make some art with your finds!
Plant Something. Scatter some wildflower seeds in an empty lot or local park and stroll by all season to check the progress. We love these wildflower seed bombs that are easy to toss over fences.
Take Photographs. Do you have an old camera sitting around that got forgotten after the iPhone moved in? Teach the kids the basics then set them loose. Do they gravitate snapping architecture? Flowers? Patterns? You can even print out the images and make a book to remember these days of endless walking for all time.
Need more ideas for keeping kids entertained all summer long beyond these walking activities? Check out 50 Things To Do With Kids This Summer and 100 Screen-Free Activities To Do At Home With Kids.
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