Fun games to play with your kids while walking

Walking to get places as a family is a great example of “active transportation”, using your own human-power to move from one place to another. When walking at a good clip, it’s an amazing way to sneak in some active time towards the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity per day that every kid needs, and so few get.

Walking with kids, however, can pose some challenges, especially when little feet start to drag, and the dreaded whining starts ringing in your ears. Don’t default to throwing everyone into the car to avoid a mid-walk melt-down, instead turn your walk into an opportunity to play!

What might be a routine trip to school, daycare or the store can become a daily way to play, explore and enjoy each other’s company. Here are some sure-fire ways to get your junior walkers jazzed for some ambulatory fun.

Four games for talking, thinking, and interacting:

  1. I Spy: A bona fide classic, I Spy has the person who is “it” choose an object within sight of all the walkers and says, “I spy, with my little eye, something that … “ and give a clue, colour, shape, texture or use, for what the object might be. Whoever guesses the object is “it” next.
  2. When I Go On Holiday: The first person says, “When I go on holiday, I am going to pack a …” and states any object that starts with the letter A. The second person repeats the phrase and the first object, adding a new object that starts with the letter “B”. Each player has to repeat the whole list, adding to it on each turn, until somebody is unable to recite the contents of the alphabetical packing list.
  3. Rock Paper Scissors: Pair up in twos to play this game found all over the world. On the count of one, two, three, go, each of the players throws a hand in one of the following symbols; a rock (closed fist), paper (flat, open hand), or scissors (peace sign). Paper always beats rock – it can wrap around the rock, rock always beats scissors – it can smash the scissors, and scissors beats paper – for obvious reasons! Keep score as you walk.
  4. What Am I: This can be played with lots of walkers. The group can choose a category like animals, countries, food or famous people. The person who is “it” thinks of something from the category and give 2 or 3 difficult clues as to the identity of the thing they are thinking of. Guessers get to ask yes or no questions before guessing the identity of the object and are eliminated if they guess wrong.

Four games to get moving while walking:

  1. Follow the Leader: Whoever is “it” gets to decide how everyone will walk – like a monkey, a kangaroo or a bear,  and where the group walks – across rocks, along low retaining walls or other low to the ground structures.
  2. Catch or Kick: Take a ball with you while you walk and toss it from one walker to another without dropping it. If walking along paths and trails with enough space to kick the ball ahead and have the next person chase it and kick it further.
  3. Scavenger Hunt: Give kids a list of 5 to 10 objects that might be found along the walking route. Searching for squirrels, oak leaves, pine needles or a piece of quartz rock keeps kids too busy to gripe, “Are we there yet?”
  4. Race: One person picks a landmark within view ahead such as a bush, tree, stop sign or building. The object cannot be across a road. All the walkers race to the object, and the winner gets to choose the next destination.

Walking is a fundamental way to get our kids moving more, and by setting the example, and consciously electing to get places as a family on foot, we are setting our kids up to become adults who naturally choose physical activity as a way of life.