Making daily walks more fun during lockdown
Content adapted from ‘Playing Smart’ by Susan Perry.
We have precious little time allocated to exercise away from our homes during this lockdown period. Walking is one of the best forms of exercise for all ages, and certainly families should be making sure everyone spends the morning hours profitably.
It is true that walking the same route every day can get a bit boring, so here are some ways of making it more appealing. Brainstorm other ways with your children.
- Change the time of your walk. Yes, we have to be home by 09:00 but try a sunrise walk – watching the sun come up can be wonderful.
- Have a bird-watching or nature walk. Hunt for pine cones or dried pods to use for some craft activities later in the day. Look for animal tracks. Spot the birds and try to identify them. Children may enjoy starting a ‘bird list’.
- Go on a ‘what’s wrong’ walk. Invite children to notice everything in the neighbourhood that needs fixing or changing. For example, a lawn might need mowing; a house needs a coat of paint; a roof needs fixing before the rain; flower beds need weeding ….
- Go on a ‘what’s good’ walk, and encourage children to notice things that are pretty and pleasing. This is a good way of increasing a child’s observation powers and sense of aesthetics.
- Try a ‘never-seen-before’ walk. As you traverse a very familiar route, look for ten things you’ve never seen before. This could be anything, from cracks in the pavements to the way potted plants are arranged on a stoep.
- If it has recently rained, try a ‘puddle walk’. Look at different puddles and make predictions about which will dry up first. Why? Measure the depth of puddles with a stick. Check your predictions the following day.
- Play ‘who lives here?’. Try to guess what the different homeowners do for a living. Use clues such as the car in the driveway, or whatever is clearly visible through the windows (but don’t stare too much!)
- Draw a map of the neighbourhood as you walk, noting the street names and the number of houses in the streets. See how accurate the maps are by following them.
- Seek out the cats! Look sharply to count all the cats in the neighbourhood, sitting on roofs and sleeping on stoeps.