Ever since, and way before, the shelter in place began, I have worked on coming up with fun walking activities for preschoolers that I could do with my son. We both enjoy learning, being outside and being active and he has “walked” with me since he was six weeks old. We started out going on family walks, in my neighborhood, with my mother or me pushing the stroller while he slept.
Our walks typically last anywhere from 15-30 minutes and average about a mile in our hilly community. Surprisingly, when my son became a toddler and actually spent more time walking instead of riding in his stroller, he has never complained about our long walks together. Well, to be fair, he never complains as long as there are fun things to do while we walk.
Of course the things we do have changed as he has gotten older. My son recently turned four, so our walking activities for preschoolers have had more to do with getting ready for school such as learning numbers, letters, shapes and retelling information or using scientific inquiry.
Before, when I went for walks with my son as a toddler, we sang, identified things by their name and paid attention to sights and sounds.
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Benefits of Walking
Walking is widely recognized as an excellent way of exercising and promoting or maintaining health. It is more accessible than running and is a great way to bond as a family through family walks. Outside of the direct health benefits, walking also helps develop social skills and promote independence. Typically, in my family we go for a walk daily unless the weather doesn’t permit.
How to Get Your Child to Walk With You?
As I mentioned, walking is something that is ingrained in my son’s life. He grew up with it being a part of what our family does. Therefore, my first recommendation on how to get your child to walk with you is to start walking together early. Additionally, I have the following suggestions:
Choose an appropriate place to walk.
Dress appropriately for the climate you live in.
Choose an ideal time that is not too hot or cold.
Carry a hand towel and water to refresh your child and you during the walk.
Fill your walk with fun things to do.
Explain the importance of walking, as it relates to health and wellness.
Make it a special time for bonding and discussion.
My son and I mainly go walking in our neighborhood or one of the parks close to our home. Our neighborhood is filled with hills and many different types of animals and sights, so it is easy to maintain my son’s interest level. However, we also like to walk at the park near our home because it has a beautiful river trail, many scenic attractions like a train track and bridge and even has a playground and bathroom facilities.
We live in Georgia, so depending on the time of year, there is a lot of change in our climate. I am always sure to check the weather before we leave and dress for optimum comfort. For my son, shorts or joggers are effective and I typically do short sleeved shirts with a layered jacket in the winter time. We have, on special occasions, dressed up as our favorite heroes or story book characters .
My son and I are heavy sweaters, so having a way to remove some of that sweat and replenish our water reserves is important. Be sure not to drink too much because then you may end up having to find a bathroom, which may not be convenient.
We see walks as opportunities to let our imaginations wander and to have fun together. Below, I will give detailed ideas of some walking activities for preschoolers. However, it is important to share with your child that even though you are having fun, you are also building endurance, helping your heart and lungs and in general being kind to your body.
Above all, walking is a special bonding time for us. For the most part, we normally go, just the two of us and some of our best conversations, laughs and memories in general have come while we were walking.
Walking Activities for Preschoolers
Now that I’ve persuaded you to grab your child and get out walking, you are probably wondering what are some good walking activities for your toddlers and preschoolers. Here are 11 of the best walking activities for toddlers and preschoolers that we have come up with during our time walking together.
Sing the alphabet or any other songs you love.