Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Walk the walk

With the spring weather arriving and longer lighter days upon us, one of the simplest but nicest things you can do with your child is to go out for a walk. For adults, walking is all about the destination and getting there quickly. As a child it's a mini adventure.

I've written before about the benefits of slowing down, taking a more gentle pace and appreciating what's around you more. This post is about fun things to do on a walk with your child, using their natural tendency to be observant of their surroundings and to encourage interaction with what's around them. Here are some things we talk about and look out for on our walks around the neighbourhood that you might like to try with your toddler:

Colours: look out for anything red, such as cars, post boxes, telephone boxes. We're currently pointing out the spring blossom on the trees and saying if it's pink or white. You could call out colours of front doors, flowers, shop fronts and all kinds of other things.

Counting: my son loves to tell me how many steps there are in front of the mansion blocks in our area and preferably to run up and down each one too! Of course there are endless options for counting games: cars in a driveway/along a road, post boxes, people riding bikes, dogs that you see out for a walk.....

People: builders at work, people sitting outside for lunch, someone sweeping outside their home, other children with their parents - all of these are of great interest to my son who will often stand still and just watch them for a while and probably tell me what they are doing too. People-watching is not just for adults!

Surroundings: maybe you live near a park where you can go and dig around in the dirt or pick up sticks, sometimes we go to feed the ducks or watch the canal boats. Whatever surroundings you have nearby to home you can make use of and enjoy. Even the simplest things like walking over drain covers is big news with my two-year old, especially if they are a bit wobbly and make a noise when he walks over them!

Vehicles: having a son, vehicles are pretty exciting for him. We look out for rubbish trucks, emergency vehicles, big trucks or lorries and noisy motorbikes. Anything that makes a noise or has a flashing light on it is especially engaging :-).

Animals & birds: we passed a robin on the pavement yesterday. There are often squirrels racing up trees and sometimes cats sitting on a wall. This time of year is especially good for seeing lots of different birds and animals out enjoying the milder weather.

What do you like to enjoy and observe when you go out for a walk close to home? Do you play any games or try to incorporate anything in particular when out for a walk?


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  1. We get quite an experience just looking at our garden: deer [too many], squirrels, birds, sometimes wild turkeys and foxes. We live 5 minutes aways from a State Park (USA) and there it's the pure joy of breathing for me. When the children were little they loved to watch the ducks in the lake and look for cool rocks. The occasional snake was a HUGE treat. :)
    Enjoy your spring!

  2. I'm highly envious of Maryse's garden.

    Lovely post as always, Mummy Zen. My little 'un, though still not walking, is starting to get interested in the wider environment now and it's great. She's always been nosey and looked around, quietly taking it all in, but I take extra care now to point out the (grey unfortunately) squirrels that are always out in force in this greenland we cut through and tell her the different types of doggies we see. She loves rolling around and digging about in mud and soil and though I'm a little nervous of dog 'waste' I encourage her to get a little dirty. Same as you too with the coulours and so forth as that' the stage we're at right now.

    I can't wait til she can walk properly - I tried her in the shopping centre last week as she can walk while holding my hand, but she just kept sitting down, bless :) x

  3. Maryse - your garden and close proximity to a State Park sound wonderful! It must be so nice having plenty of fresh air to breathe in and a great opportunity for seeing all kinds of animals!

    Mummy Beadzoid - thank you :-). I remember that stage well, when they are still finding their feet properly and yet so eager to explore. Good that you encourage her to get a little dirty too, I think that's an important part of letting them discover and investigate what's around them. x


Thank you for reading. I'd love to have your comments and thoughts!