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A wonderful adventure for a child can begin with simply going on a walk or a hike. Children will not only have fun enjoying the outdoors but experience a wealth of exciting learning opportunities. Listed below are some great ideas that can be used alone or as a springboard to another idea that will engage children of all ages in walking or hiking.
- Go on a critter hunt: When you are on a walk or hike, stop a few times to turn over logs, rocks or pieces of bark to see what's hiding underneath. You might discover beetles, spiders, worms and rolly pollies. A magnifying glass is a great tool to bring along to get a closer look.
- Animal walks: This is a fun game of taking turns to decide how to walk until reaching the next landmark (e.g. fence, tree, house). For example: walk like a duck by squatting legs and flapping arms or hop like a rabbit with arms tucked into chest and hopping foward. Sound effects can be added but be careful of other walkers and wildlife which may like a slightly more peaceful environment
- Can you find it? A player chooses an object they see on the walk and says, "First one to find a ____". The player fills the blank with the object (e.g. green leaf). Other players try to find the object first and the winner then chooses the next object to find.
- Follow me: The goal of this game is to follow a partner as close as possible, without running into them, or anyone else. Take turns who gets to be the leader.
- Go on a scavenger hunt: Before beginning a walk, brainstorm a list of objects you think you might find. For example: a feather, animal tracks, a flower, an acorn, a large rock, moss, a pine cone, etc. Add to the list during the walk.
Click here for more ideas and the full article!
- Go Outside and Get Growing! North Carolina Extension
- Tag—Just Tag (You're It), James Madison University, Department of Kinesiology
- Games to Play While Walking, Walking Families UK
- 10 Games to Play on a Country Walk, Parent Dish
For more information, contact the author — Pat Jones, Extension Educator in Brown, Rock and Keya Paha counties. This publication has been peer-reviewed.