10 Ways to Make Lockdown Walks More FunFebruary 18, 2021 • Get Outdoors
With another lockdown in full swing, most families are turning to daily walks to blow the cobwebs away and get some much-needed exercise, fresh air and a change of scenery.
Sometimes, despite their parents’ best efforts, growing explorers need a little distraction (and some encouragement) to get those feet moving so we thought we’d share a few tips on how you can make your family walks more exciting.
Here are 10 ways you can make your lockdown family walks more fun:
1. Nature Identification
Look out for trees and wildflowers and try to identify them. The Picture This App is a brilliant resource. You can even start to learn the names of the plants and then test the whole family on them.
2. Bird Spotting
Listening to bird song and spotting the birds using the Chirp App is another superb way to learn more about wildlife and make walks more interesting for children. The app does a brilliant job of helping you learn the top 10 most common and then the top 25 most common British birds.
3. Keeping Track of Something
This one is super simple but can keep little ones entertained as they have a task during the whole walk. Ask children to keep track of something, for example, “Let’s see how many horses / trees with flowers / dogs / etc. we see on our walk?”.
4. Scavenger Hunt
A classic! Write up a list of things to spot on the walk and children can take the list and tick things off as they go. You can add nature items such as an orange leaf, bluebells, animal tracks or a bumblebee. Another version is to ask children to collect items of as many different colours as possible while on the walk.
5. Stick collecting
It is an oldie but a goody that children of all ages can enjoy. Named the ‘world’s oldest toy’ by the National Toy Hall of Fame, the humble stick has been entertaining children for generations. You can set out to find the best walking stick, make a journey stick or play pooh sticks, the possibilities are endless.
As the children get older, you can look for the perfect stick to become a sword and once home, whittle them with pen-knives and carve their initials into them in the garden which makes it an activity that lasts all afternoon.
6. I Spy
Another classic with endless possibilities for all ages. If your children are too young to use ’something begins with (a letter)’, you can use colours e.g. ‘I spy with my little eye something that is the colour green’.
7. Themed Alphabet Word Game
First, you choose your theme then each person has to think of a word from the chosen theme (e.g. a fruit) beginning with ‘a’ then ‘b’ etc. You can’t say something that another person already said and the turns go youngest to oldest so the oldest always has the hardest task.
8. Themed Last Letter Word Game
Again, you choose your theme, it can be names, fruit, animals, geography, anything you and your children pick. You then start by saying a word from the theme. The next player needs to say a word from the same theme using the last letter of this word as their word’s first letter. When a player is stumped and cannot continue the chain, they are out of the game. The game continues until there’s only one player left.
9. Animal, Vegetable, Mineral
One person thinks of an item that is ‘animal’, ‘vegetable’ or ‘mineral’ and then everyone has to guess what the item is. The players then take turns asking questions that can be answered with a YES or NO.
10. Set Challenges
This one is very good to burn off some extra energy! Set the children challenges as you go, e.g. hop to the nearest tree, skip to the end of the road, run to the top of the hill, etc.
+ 1. Pedometer & Stopwatch
Children can find tracking steps amusing. You can use a watch or a pedometer and you can see how many steps you are taking. You can also explain how many steps make up one mile and talk about distance.
A stopwatch can also be useful on walks. You can investigate things like ‘how long does it take to run from this tree to that tree’ or set different tasks.