{Guest Post - Get Your Kids Walking!}

Today I have another fabulous guest post for you, this time from Jen over at Kitchen Counter Chronicles! Jen is a regular contributor to our Outdoor Play linky and today she is sharing suggestions for getting your kids walking for longer distances. I will definitely be trying some of these ideas with Princess Pea - who knows, perhaps she might one day manage to walk up the hill from preschool to our house without me having to drag her alongside the stroller!

Walking Games

We live in an area of Toronto called the Beach. Now you would be correct in assuming that this neighbourhood has a beautiful beach. What you might not guess is that it is one of the hilliest areas of the city. Our homes sit on lovely tree lined streets that are super steep. We live at the top of one of these streets. So, when the time came to start transitioning my girls out of their strollers and into the habit of walking - we faced some challenges. Why would a kid want to walk up a hill, at the end of a day spent down at the beach, when they could catch a ride? How would we ever convince them to walk the entire way? Here are some of our tips and tricks - it's all about distraction.

Brown bag surprise - We keep a few brown paper bags on hand at all times. A brown bag is like a blank canvas for children - anything can happen. Pass the bag to your little one and ask them to collect rocks, sticks, flowers, whatever.  The best part is when they get home (after walking) they can take out these objects and add them to your garden or glue them to a piece of construction paper - instant craft project!

Counting games - Cats, dogs, flowers, steps...whatever you can count can be a game (as long as it gets you moving in the right direction). In fact, my youngest daughter learned how to count to 100 while walking up our hill with me. 

Car games - I asked my daughters what their favourite walking game is and they said "car games!" There are two games we play - in the first game we get the girls to name the cars they see along the way. They learn to recognize the different symbols for each make of car. For the second game we pick each pick a car company (Toyota and Honda) and see whose car company has the most cars on our walk. This one gets quite competitive.

Hot tip: As with most child activities, it's important to make sure the kids are fed and have plenty to drink. Also, give yourself a lot of time. Kids do not rush - they like to stop and smell the roses.

Getting outside is so important in raising healthy and happy kids. Losing the stroller gives you more freedom to explore - get off the beaten path. Hope these tips help get you and your family onto the road less travelled.

Thanks so much to Jen for sharing these great ideas! Be sure to check out her blog, Kitchen Counter Chronicles for more - and don't miss her Kitchen Confidential feature, where she interviews women about their kitchen counters to get to know them better. She's trying to talk me into sharing pictures of mine - yikes!