Image from allaboutyou.com
Childhood obesity is becoming a huge problem for children in North America and Europe. The statistics and the ramifications are very serious for their health and future. Walking in parks and the countryside is such a cheap and easy way to get out and enjoy nature whilst getting in some family togetherness and exercise for parents and children.
In Barrow-in-Furness, England, there is an interesting project, Walk4Life , aimed at getting children out of the house, and making walking fun. The ideas that they use will work for any family outing.
Image from Walk4life
As outlined in the Telegraph, here are some handy tips.
l. Make the Idea Sound like Fun
Don't say "who wants to go for a walk". Instead ask "who wants to explore the forest". If it sounds like a game, young children are more likely to be excited.
2. Choose an Interesting Spot
Make sure that you choose a walk location carefully. Straight routes and flat paths are boring. Children like places where there is lots to look at. They like to climb over things like logs and beaches and streams.
If there is a famous landmark, all the better, whether that be a place linked to a sport or famous person.
3. Dress Them Properly
Make sure that their shoes fit properly and are the right kind of shoes for walking. Likewise, clothes should be loose-fitting and not too hot or cold. Layers are always best. For a real treat, give them a small knapsack to carry. Then they can hold the bits that they find along the way.
4. Keep the Pace Slow
There is nothing worse than a parent striding ahead and yelling "come on" or "hurry up". If they want to dawdle, dawdle with them--it is part of the experience.
5. Make up Games as You Go
To keep things lively and fun, make up stories, play follow the leader or hide and seek. In the Barrow experiment, they have "log books" for children to fill in, listing things that they have spotted or collected.
Treasure maps are fun if they are easy and the "treasure" can be a healthy treat. : Telegraph