Added challenges during your walk can promote balance and coordination.
At the end of a crazy day filled with shuttling kids around, keeping little tummies full and doing load after load of laundry, motivating yourself to get up and move may prove difficult. Fortunately, preschool children have an abundance of energy to burn and just need guidance from you to channel that energy into healthy activities. Taking a walk with your kiddo will give you an energy boost while encouraging health and wellness in your child. Plus, it may even tire her out, making for a smooth bedtime transition — fingers crossed!
1Make walking a part of your family routine. Work a brief walk into each day by strolling to a nearby park, store or around the block. Schedule the walk for a specific time of day to satisfy your preschooler's need for structure and routine. If you have a dog, take him along and let your little one man the leash if he is able to.
2Strap a pedometer, a device that measures each step you take, onto your preschooler's little ankle and make every step count. Use this handy device to peak her interest and turn a healthy walk into a fun numbers game. After each walk, record the number of steps taken on your journey and mark them on a chart. Set out for a higher number each day, teaching your little one to set goals that will keep her physically fit.
3Transform your ordinary neighborhood into a place of hidden treasures by having a scavenger hunt while out walking. Provide your little walking partner with a list of things to find, keeping her busy and engaged for a healthy outing. Keep it simple: a pine cone or feather may not seem like a treasure to you, but your preschooler will feel as if she has struck gold while crossing it off her list.
4If you have more time, ditch your familiar surroundings and venture to a scenic spot for a walk. Find a local park, beach, garden, lake or museum and make an adventure out of an otherwise simple strut. As you cruise around with your kiddo, encourage her to see the beauty in nature and find teachable moments by posing questions such as, "How many ducks can you find in the lake?" or "What sea creatures can you think of?"
5For a science lesson and healthy walk rolled into one activity, tape or paint animal tracks around your neighborhood. Invite your little one to follow the footprints and try to guess which animal left the tracks. Then ask her to role play by stomping like a gorilla, waddling like a penguin, prancing like a deer, running like a cheetah or jumping like a frog.
- Make sure to wear bright-colored clothing when walking at night.Before taking a walk, review safety rules for pedestrians.Make sure your child has comfortable shoes and water for long walks.