Fun ideas to inspire your family to get out and about
As a working mum with two kids, I often find myself agreeing to a play-date with the TV remote in my free time instead of pausing to reflect on how I really want to end a busy day and connect with my kids. The demands of life today – conflicting schedules, exhaustion and concerns about dangers in the community – make it increasingly difficult for families to get out and walk together.
However, studies have shown that walkable communities are generally healthier communities, with residents feeling more connected to one another. Children who walk regularly in the outdoors concentrate better at school, feel more independent, and enjoy enhanced physical and emotional health. I’m no head-in-the-sandpit parent. I know the research. Early experiences WILL have an impact upon patterns of behaviour, attitudes, values and health and wellbeing in later life. However, often time-poor parents like myself need a little guidance.
That’s why I was so pleased to discover Victoria Walks which has developed a series of resources to encourage primary school children and their families to walk more. The eight downloadable Smart Steps Family Activity Sheets are age and ability specific to inspire families to get out and about.
The Activity Sheets feature walks to help the little ones with their ABCs, a chance to use mum or dad’s iphone to capture the experience and a fun way to learn about road signs. I popped them on the fridge and let the kids choose. We loved them. And we weren’t alone.
Victoria Walks recently hosted a photo competition to promote the Activity Sheets. Anne de Manser, a Mortlake mum said in her winning photo submission: ‘This was a great stimulus for our daily walks while we were on holidays. I’m going to use them as weekly homework with my kids when I get back to school”.
Entrant Nicole Beveridge enthused: “We think they’re great……Great ideas for kids who love the outdoors! I haven’t found anything that hasn’t worked yet”.
This was supported by Werribee’s Lisa Dann: “They gave me a few simple ideas to get them out of the house doing cheap, fun and educational activities without me having to put a lot of organisation into them”.
Modelling positive behaviour
Once we had tried a few activities, I was surprised by how easy it was to also come up with our own. We invented the Rainbow Chip walk, matching pieces of coloured paper with things we encountered on our way.
I’ve found new inspiration to engage my kids’ natural curiosity and develop a lasting affinity for walking. The best thing? We are walking. It’s easy. It’s free. We are together.
Create and discover new adventures
• Create, discover and share your favourite walks with Walking Maps.
• Love where you live? Why don’t you Map your local treasures? You can win great prizes! Closing date 30 April 2014.
• Try an activity or three – Smart Steps Family Activity Sheets.
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Do you walk with your kids? What do you enjoy doing on your walks when you do?