Taking a walk is good exercise for you and your child, plus it can also be a special time together. Focus on the present moment and being with your child, not on all of the things you have to do when you get back.
Watch and listen:
Look at the walk through your child’s eyes. How might a bug or a big crack in the sidewalk look to your child? What sounds do cars or birds make? Is the sun shining? Is it cloudy, warm or cold?
For your baby
Name things that your baby looks at or is interested in – from street and business signs, to animals, flowers, bugs, cars, trucks, people or other sights. Take time to let your baby watch things until his or her interest shifts. Notice how intently your baby studies things.
For your toddler
If your toddler likes to run and jump and practice moving around, make games of doing this. Help your child learn to be safe by stopping at corners and driveways and showing him or her how to look both ways for cars.
For your preschooler
Ask questions about what you see on your walk that seems to interest your child. These questions can include the past, present and future. For example, if you and your preschooler see a dog, ask if he or she remembers seeing that dog before, what the dog is doing or what they think the dog might do if the dog were bigger or smaller, or faster or slower. Make up rhymes or sing marches as your walk. Try walking and singing or chanting fast then slow.
These tips were developed for Born Learning by Mind in the Making, a project of the Families and Work Institute and New Screen Concepts.