Liven Up a Hike or Stroll With Walking Games

Easy walking games help children pass the time and the miles.

Kids hiking on a forest trail
Mike Tauber / Blend Images / Getty Images

Keep whines away during a hike or walk with kids by playing walking games. These easy activities help children stay interested and engaged when you are taking a family hike or simply walking to school or the playground. They don't require any preparation or props, and they are great for kicking off conversations with your kiddos too!

  1. I Spy: This classic travel game works just as well when you are on foot. Make it more challenging by adding rules, such as "natural items only" or "pick something that has a name that shares your initial."        
  1. When You Hear ... : Pick a trigger sound, such as a car horn or a bird's chirp. Line up in single file and start walking. When you hear the sound, the first person in the line has to run to the back. Continue until everyone's had a turn to lead.
  2. Poetry to Go: Take turns creating a poem-on-the-go. Start off with a simple line like "I really love to take a walk" and have kids add their own rhymes in turn ("except when I forget my sock" ... "and then I step upon a rock" ... and so on).
  3. Interval Training: Spice up a walk by challenging kids to incorporate different moves, such as running, hopping, skipping, scuttling sideways, etc. What other styles of walking or moving can they come up with?
  4. Follow the Leader: Similarly, play follow-the-leader. The leader adds an element to the walk, like an arm motion, a sound, a hop, or so on. Everyone behind has to follow along. Or, to make the game more challenging, have each new leader add a new element while keeping all the old ones going.
  1. Count Off: Pick something to keep track of, from red cars to dead trees. Make it a contest or collaborate, whichever is more appealing to your crew of walkers.
  2. Count Up: Bring a pedometer and try some of these pedometer activities.
  3. Spelling Bee: Have children challenge each other—and you—to spell words based on what they can see, such as "crow" or "cement" or "caterpillar."
  1. 20 Questions: Hide a small object (something from your bag, or that you find along the trail or sidewalk) in your hand and have kids try to figure out what it is.
  2. Name That Tune: For younger children, sing the lyrics and stick with songs you're positive kids know. As they get older, make the game more challenging by humming or whistling the tune and picking more obscure songs.
  3. Catch! Bring a small ball with you and toss it from person to person as you walk. Keep count and see how long your streak can get before dropping the ball.
  4. Ghost: This is a spelling game suitable for older kids. The challenge is to add letters to a word fragment—but not be the one to complete the word. Start with a random letter, and then each player take turns adding new letters. They must be legitimate parts of a word. If you do finish a word (say, it's your turn when "BREAKFAS" gets to you; your only choice is to finish the word "breakfast"), you get a point. Five points and you're out.

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