Walking with kids can be incredibly fun! When they are babies, putting them in a carrier or stroller and walking wherever is easy. If they fuss, just changing the speed of the walk or singing a song to them can be enough to distract. “Oooo…wind in my face! Run Daddy run!” At about 15 months, babies want to get out and walk themselves. Every rock, flower and bug is a world of its own, and walking around the block can be good exercise for the toddler, but insanely slow for the parent. Solution? Sometime let the child walk, but also bring along the stroller and play a game. This game works for kids up to twelve or older, especially if you both take the competition very seriously, and simultaneously have a sense of humor.
The goal is to rack up the most points, and whoever does, wins the game (though with a young child, the winner is the child who just “happens” to see the object first, even while in the stroller). Start by deciding what the “object” is – a fire hydrant, street sign, trail marker, mushroom etc. that you choose on your walk/hike. Walk together and try to spot the object first, counting points as you go. With older children, if it’s safe, let them run ahead, or better, run alongside them and truly compete. You can play until the walk is over, or whoever gets to ten or twenty (or whatever you chose as your winning number) first. The person who had the most counted objects is the winner. Have fun and don’t be surprised if your kids beat you more often!