Walking with kids in our new normal

My aim with Routes for Little Boots has always been to inspire families to discover and explore the amazing Norfolk countryside. However, since lockdown began, I’ve been rather afraid to post.  The last thing I want is to accidentally encourage or tempt people to travel further afield than they should, for instance to see some of our fantastic bluebell spots.  And there are people out there who are much better at inspiration for home and garden activities than me.  So I’ve been a bit quiet.

However, over the last few weeks we’ve fallen in love with our local area all over again.  It brings sheer joy to be outside for our dog walks and we’re grateful that we are still allowed out at all to exercise.

So I thought I’d share some ideas that I’ve picked up over the last few years about how we make even the smallest of walks engaging (after a bit of prompting… thanks Sarah). Or try to… like anyone else, sometimes our walks are just disastrous, end in tears and we all end up grumpy! Just saying.

Before the walk starts:

  • I try not to say “we’re going for a walk” – I try and pitch it as an adventure, or at least say “we’re going on a treasure hunt” or whatever we’re going to do that day.
  • I try and let her set the pace (this is HARD).  Even then, I’m so guilty of saying “chop chop!” – but it’s important to remember we’re not on a mission and the objective is just to be outdoors and enjoying it. So we don’t go far if there’s any sort of time limit.
  • I also reinforce the importance of getting outdoors and being active every day – I wistfully hope it will then sink in for later life
  • Don’t forget to WASH YOUR HANDS!

Ideas for a walk… but many of these can be done in the garden too:

  • Journey sticks. Such a simple idea – you just need a long stick or a Y shaped stick and I like to use colourful wool to brighten it up. Collect bounty along your walk and tie on with the wool.  Use the stick to tell a story about what you did and collected to someone else when you arrive home.  For more info, see HERE

journey stick

  • Sticking. Take a bag and collect sticks for crafts at home.  The act itself can become fun as we have to carefully debate the ‘right’ kind of stick for whatever task we’re going to undertake (e.g. spider web, twig plant pot, wind stick)
  • Good old fashioned Pooh sticks – hopefully most people have even a small bridge over running water nearby.  It can be tricky at the moment with social distancing if the area is busy and I make sure she doesn’t touch the railings – and we don’t hang around for long.
  • Sky Spy (I got this from a book – “101 Things For Kids To Do Outside” see HERE) – so simple and can be adapted for the garden.  Either just look to see what you can in the sky on a walk or lie down on a blanket for 10 minutes in the garden

sky spy

  • Create an adventure trail for your community e.g. hanging things in trees (someone has created a laminated Gruffalo trail in our local woods and a friend and her twins hung eggs in the trees for Easter and planted a little fairy door.  Simple, thoughtful, brilliant.)

adventure trail

  • Nature crown. Collect items to make a nature crown at home (see HERE). You just need a strip of cardboard and double-sided tape and then pick up leaves or petals or anything from the ground (or from your own garden) to stick onto your crown

nature crown

  • Mindfulness. Find a quiet spot, close your eyes and see what you can hear for a few minutes. We really enjoyed this one in the garden and she was surprisingly quiet whilst we were doing it!
  • Bark rubbings. Still one of the best.  Piece of paper and a crayon. Find five different trees and identify them when you get home
  • Leaf / flower identification. As above, collect (from the ground) or take a pic of five different leaves or flowers and identify them when you get home
  • Make a treasure hunt before you go (things you know might be on the walk) – e.g. tree-stump, daisy, dandelion, bluebell, bench etc.  We also use the ‘Go Find It’ game but you can make your own (e.g. find something round, bumpy, spiky etc.). Or you could set a task of finding a range of colours (e.g. something red, orange, green, brown, yellow)
  • Create your own quiz. This can be done anywhere (also in the garden) and adapted for any age. E.g. how many benches in the park, how many pillars on the bandstand, what colour is the butcher’s door, how many windows in the building on the corner of your road? Maybe do one for your community.
  • Sunrise or sunset walks. It’s getting to the point in the year where this is harder but it’s so rewarding if you can.  It’s the best way of avoiding the crowds too. You can take some cracking shots in this lovely weather at the moment.


I haven’t added in geocaching in here as we don’t actually do it ourselves – but it’s very popular for all ages.

After the walk…

Don’t forget to WASH YOUR HANDS when you get home! 🙂

I hope you all stay safe and well in these strange times.



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