Walks are a lifeline while we’re on lockdown. But when you throw kids into the mix, they’re anything but straightforward.
It can be a mission just to get everyone out of the house. And then two minutes later they’re whinging that they’re bored… Here’s a handy list of little ideas to keep everyone happy while you’re out for a walk and exploring.
Bird watching book and binoculars
When the first lockdown kicked in, I bought my son a bird-watching book as he already had a pair of binoculars. He’s kept up his interest in spotting all the different types and likes to tick them off one by one. If we’re walking near water, he’ll often spy something unusual and can then read up on them when we get home.
All phones and smartwatches have timers on them now. However, if you’ve got a child that likes sprinting as much as mine then a child-friendly stopwatch is a handy gadget to get. We’re constantly being asked to time my son when he darts off to his chosen destination, but once we get round to opening the app he’s already halfway there.
Container to put little ‘treasures’ in
All children love to collect special stones and leaves on walks but if you’re anything like me it can be awkward to know where to store them safely (especially if you don’t want your coat pockets to resemble a nature reserve). Bring a little bag or tub and they can fill them up as they go. They’ll be kept entertained once you get home too by examining their little collection.
Everyone has a camera on their phone, but you don’t necessarily want to hand it to your child every time they want to take a snap. My son recently saved up his pocket money for a Polaroid camera and the first thing he wanted to do was to take it on a walk. They’re too bulky to bring out every time but are great for when you’re going somewhere interesting.
Paper and pencil
Kids love to keep score when they’re playing games and when you’re out for a wander this could include ‘I Spy’ or ‘ABCs’ (where you have to find something on the walk that begins with ‘A’ and then move through the rest of the alphabet). They can use their paper and pencil to keep track and no doubt they’ll be looking for a little prize later if they win.
Although it means more screen time, Pokemon Go is a great app if you’re struggling to get your child to be enthusiastic about going out. They’ll be so excited about catching their favourite characters they’ll forget to give out about the fact that it’s raining and their feet are sore.
I know we’re talking about walking here. However, bikes can make a ‘walk’ much more interesting for kids. They can go faster, they don’t have to trail along with their toddler sibling, and it can give them a feeling of independence once they’re too old to hold hands.
Don’t forget something to keep you motivated on your walks with kids. If you’ve got a pedometer, whether it’s on your phone or smartwatch, check it before you head off and when you get back and it will give you a little lift to know how many steps you’ve achieved.