With the increase in technology use for both kids and adults, recess cutbacks in schools, and just the busyness that can consume our lives at times, there is one thing I like to do daily for my kids if I can, which is go for a walk with my little family.
This one simple, daily activity is so beneficial for kids for a multitude of reasons, and kids LOVE it.
I’m also sharing a free printable with you that my boys love to use when we go for our family walk. It has a checklist for things your child might want to bring with them and then in the box below they can circle anything they happen to find during the walk. It’s a fun way to get them excited and to take notice of the world around them while we’re out walking and playing.
We normally always take a little backpack filled with waters and an easy-yet-healthy snack. One of my boys’ favorite snacks is the CLIF Kid Zbar®; we seriously have to ration them around here because the boys would eat them all day if they could. Their favorite flavors are Chocolate Chip and Iced Oatmeal Cookie. And I love them because they’re:
- made with organic ingredients
- are non-GMO
- have important nutrients for active kids
- are proportionately sized for kids and come in flavors they love
- have no high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors (or synthetic preservatives)
Anything with an ingredient list like that that I don’t have to cook or feel guilty about feeding to them – sign me up.
Once their bars and waters are packed, they hop on their scooters and off we go to the park. Here are the top 5 reasons why I think family walks are so important for our kids:
1. Your family gets to unplug
The thing I think I love most about our family walks is that we’re all completely unplugged (especially me since I’m the worst offender in our family)! No screens in our face and fresh air in our lungs; it’s the perfect reset for our minds and bodies to just be free of distractions and noise.
I’m not going to lie…some days in our house it feels like we move from screen to screen, especially when the weather isn’t pleasant. It’s always amazing to me to watch how quickly kids just naturally slide back into play and movement when given the opportunity.
Piggie wasn’t feeling too well so he stayed at home with Luis, which meant Dacky and I got to have some one-on-one bonding time for our walk tonight.
A daily family walk is the time when we disconnect from the outside world and we connect to each other. Children thrive when they’re closely connected with their parents and let’s be honest, some days we find that we’ve been occupied with something else, so a daily walk is something both kids and their parents can look forward to because it’s the guaranteed time for reconnecting.
I live in Arizona, so during our hot summer months, there are many days when it’s dinner time and I’ll realize my kids have not gone outside once and the most exercise they’ve had was climbing the couches. I’m sure most families can relate whether it’s cold winters or super hot summers; there are just times during the year when it’s a little harder to get outside for play time.
Luckily with a daily walk, even if I have to wait until the sun goes down, I know that my kids are moving their bodies, getting sweaty and exercising by being outside. It’s good for their health and it helps get out their pent up energy.
I read a book once that said no matter what the weather, take your kids outside at least once a day and let them roam around because it’s so beneficial for their health!
And my sanity.
4. They get to PLAY!
So on that note of getting exercise; they get to play! Outside! Like we did when we were little, remember?! I do still see children outside playing but it’s definitely not like it was when I was growing up and the kids were just all up and down the street with no parents in sight.
According to CLIF Kid, balanced and active play lays the foundation for a skilled, healthy, resilient and successful society. Play is disappearing at home, in school and in communities. 70% of moms played outside when they were kids and only 31% of their kids play outside today.
Even though times have changed, taking a daily family walk allows my children that outdoor play time in their neighborhood. I love seeing them run around with dirty feet and faces, playing until the street lights come on. That was LIFE when I was a kid. Check out this CLIF Kid video for inspiration; it almost made me cry! I just felt so nostalgic and it’s definitely something I want to give to my kids too.
This is how we eat our snacks…(another reason I love CLIF Kid Zbar®; they’re easy to hold while playing)!
5. It instills healthy habits
Going for a daily family walk is not only healthy for our kids right now, but it’s setting them up to be healthy for their entire lives. If you grow up doing something almost every single day, it becomes a habit and something you’ll view as normal and important to continue doing.
Going on walks with our kids every day will increase the chances that one day they will be going for walks with their little families every day too.
Click the image below to download the What’s In My Neighborhood printable.
What is your favorite way to make sure your kids get guaranteed outdoor playtime every day, especially during the not-so-great weather months? I’d love to hear from you!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.